One of the biggest technology upgrades we’ve seen recently is 3D printing. For those of you who may (or may not) live under a rock, 3D printing has been all the rage in the world of product design and engineering especially. I highly recommend looking up a short video on processes. Click here if you want to see a quick time-lapse.
Now, since 3D printing became more accessible and somewhat affordable as of late, we’ve seen people (amateurs or companies) get a little more creative with the possibilities. One of my favorite applications is the adidas 4D shoe concept that utilizes a flexible plastic material, 3D printed with air gaps. So, instead of having a solid sole, the shoe has a membrane-like bottom. I can imagine it would be extremely comfortable, but I don’t know how practical it would be to clean.
Still, the idea is brand new and completely original. I look forward to seeing 3D printing become even more crazy. What if the shoe laces became a flexible membrane over the outside of a normal shoe frame? Would shoes ever become fully printed? Not sure how many materials are used in 3D printing right now, but I’m it’d be interesting to see a mono-material application for something that is usually broken up in its segments by different materials. In the meantime, things like this are more than just eye-candy; they push the boundaries and make more people think.