The 3D Internet of Things: APIs and Desktop Breeding


I just read yet another amazing achievement in the world of 3D printing: directly printing sand-grain-sized rechargeable batteries. It’s not that manufacturing things at that scale is revolutionary any more, it’s that we can see the path to mass accessibility: anyone will soon be able to do this. Just like desktop publishing, and later the web, and later any of a slew of self-expression and DIY-distribution possibilities like Facebook and YouTube and Twitter, that accessibility and enablement will surely create Yet Another Revolution (TM). No doubt.

But surely 3D printers will have APIs on them, so you can connect them to other software systems and services. In fact, everything seems to be sprouting an API these days, leading to increasing attention on the looming Internet of Things (IoT). So if “things” have APIs through which they can connect to other “things” called 3D printers, that can print yet more “things”, maybe with slight variations, and those newly born and slightly-different “things” are successful and ask the 3D printers to “make more of me” …

It’s going to get very “meta” very soon. It’s no coincidence we talk of an API ecosystem: when you enable connectivity (our bread and butter here at MuleSoft, for example), and you enable creativity (open access allows mental creativity, 3D printers are literally creative), don’t be surprised when things come to life. APIs and the Internet of Things, coming soon to a desk near you.

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