If you were looking for confirmation that 3D printing -- sometimes used synonymously with rapid prototyping -- is here to stay, here's further evidence:
NYU now offers a course on the topic that results in students receiving a certificate.
According to the university's course description:
Rapid Prototyping is a certificate geared to familiarize students with digital tools and techniques relevant to the task of visualizing and prototyping 3D designs. Focusing on products and sculpture as the primary area of application, students will be taken through a series of hands-on class exercises supported with specialized video tutorials in order to become comfortable with the process of realizing their designs digitally.
Upon completion of the course, students will know how to take a concept and execute it into a successful 3D model using tools like Maxon's Cinema 4D, Autodesk's Mudbox, and Pixelogic's ZBrush software. At the end of the class, students will create professional 3D product visualizations and physical prototype models of their designs created with a 3D printer.
Some further investigation shows NYU as a pioneer in this field. A quick search showed that a few other reputable colleges offer similar courses. Clearly, 3D printing, and the expertise that's required to make it successful, are making inroads into the design engineering community.
Chuck, one of the biggest surprises to many people has been how much 3D printing of metal objects is going on and has been going on, for several years, especially in aerospace applications. And these are not just prototypes.
Interestingly, Chuck, we were able to play a computer game even with punch cards. They had one game at the University of New Mexico. It was a Star Trek game. You had to avoid or kill Klingons. After you submitted your cards, you had to wait until the next day to find out whether you destroyed the Klingon ship, avoided it, or got killed by the Klingons. That was around the time of Pong.
Audi is testing a new technology that eases many assembly activities at its Neckarsulm plant: the so-called "chairless chair." The device's carbon-fiber construction allows employees to sit without a chair. At the same time, it improves their posture and reduces the strain on their legs.
Just when you thought mobile technology couldn’t get any more personal, Procter & Gamble have come up with a way to put your mobile where your mouth is, in the form of a Bluetooth 4.0 connected toothbrush.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.