In a talk last January at Learning Without Frontiers, Ray Kurzweil speculated that one day 3D printers will be able to self-replicate by printing parts to make other 3D printers. Kurzweil, now Director of Engineering at Google and a speaker at last year’s Techonomy conference, thinks 3D printing could have a paradigm-shifting impact on how we manufacture all kinds of things—from automobiles to the highways that they drive on. Fueled by this vision, students at the Singularity University, which Kurzweil founded, are working on creating 3D-printable buildings.
Now, the Dutch firm DUS Architects plans to use a mobile printing facility called the KamerMaker to build the first 3D-printed canal boat. The three-year building project will start with a 3D-printed 1:20 scale model. When completed, the boat will be anchored in the Buiksloter canal in northern Amsterdam and become part of a public research center. Having now seen plans for 3D-printed boats and cars, what could possibly come next? For starters, a 3D-printed moon base, proposed by the European Space Agency.