In recent decades, the world has been rocked by revolutions in the digitization of computation and communication. Now the physical world is being digitized, thanks to new technologies that can turn data into things and things into data. Digital fabrication will let people build custom home furniture, living organs out of cells, and drones that can ﬂy out of a printer; science fiction is becoming industrial fact.
"In the 1980s, computer-controlled fabrication processes that added rather than removed material (called additive manufacturing) came on the market. ...Businesses already use these 3-D printers to model products before producing them, a process referred to as rapid prototyping. Companies also rely on the technology to make objects with complex shapes, such as jewelry and medical implants. Research groups have even used 3-D printers to build structures out of cells with the goal of printing living organs."-- Neil Gershenfeld, "How to Make Almost Anything"