March 17, 2014

Outside my 3D Printed Bubble

I went to MIT this weekend for Healthcare’s Grand H@ckfest—and we got first prize! I brought my 3d printer so we can print an physical prototype, and so we did. We designed, hacked, and 3d printed a new medical device in 24 hours.

I figured at a place like MIT, most (if not all) have already seen, hacked apart, rebuilt 3d printers. I figured my 3d printer would be just another random piece of technology strewn about in the hallways.

I was dead wrong. The 3d printer was a hit!

We had a constant stream of people walking by our table to ask about 3d printing, take photos, or just gawk at the machine. While printing late night in my host’s dorm room, her hallmates kept poking their heads in to check out the 3d printer. In Brooklyn, people turned their heads to check out my cute puppy. Here, people turned their heads to check out my 3d printer.

It’s easy for the wonder of 3d printing to get lost in the day to day

This was a good reminder that I live in a 3d printed bubble. People in this bubble spend our time dealing with nozzle clogs, loose wires, buggy CAD software, supply chain, business tax accounting (yes, it’s that time of the year). It’s easy for the wonder of 3d printing to get lost in this day the day.

One student said to me, “you have such an amazing life.” I did a double take. When I think of 3d printing in my day to day business, I think of the sales tax preparation coming up, the retail channel contracts to finalize, the material QA issues to sift through—not so amazing stuff.

It’s good to step out of my bubble. It renews wonder. It sheds new perspective. It validates or invalidates assumptions. I’m glad I had the opportunity to do that this weekend. I’m glad it reminded me to step out of my bubble more often.