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by Leanne Gluck, Director of Social Impact

This past Saturday, 3D Systems proudly participated in The Innovation Festival at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

The Festival celebrated the accomplishments of American inventors and the spirit of innovation that has led to so many of today’s technologies. As the founding 3D printing company, we showcased our Cube and CubePro 3D printers as well as our Sense 3D scanner and Touch Haptic mouse.

We were also thrilled to have our founder and Chief Technology Officer, Chuck Hull, honored for his invention of Stereolithography, the first commercial rapid prototyping technology, and the STL file format. It is incredible to look back the three-plus decades since Chuck’s invention and trace how his contribution has transformed our lives. And as access to 3D printing expands and democratizes, it is even more exciting and inspiring to look forward. The children and teens present took to 3D design and printing with enough enthusiasm to prove that we are on the edge of something great.

With today’s 3D printing technology, people are no longer limited to being consumers of things, but can now also be makers. And why stop at being a maker when you can be a change maker? Perhaps one of the most exciting things to share with visitors from this weekend is that we are now taking 3D printing to space! 3D Systems is thrilled to partner with Future Engineers, a new program for K-12 students that challenges them to design space tools for the International Space Station. The ability to 3D print in space has huge implications for space exploration. Just think: when astronauts are on Mars, they will now have on-demand access to whatever they need, even while Earth is just a little blue glimmer in the sky.