As Love Parks Week takes place again this year on 25th July we turn our attention to how 3D printing could shape nature and the way our parks look in the future. We have celebrated the day by printing our very own park scene comprising a man, his dog, a park bench and some trees!
NASA has always been ahead of most earthlings and now they’re venturing into the world of 3D printing as well. And what are they printing? Wood, with the eventual outcome being that they can also grow trees.
Researchers at Stanford University are currently developing a process that will allow them to produce cells that expel raw material, allowing astronauts to create wood and other resources when in space as opposed, to having to take these resources with them. Because cells produce so many of the products we enjoy here on earth (like wool, silk or cellulose), these researchers think that the future possibilities could be limitless.
And despite sceptics, the students are ready to prove that this new technology will work by October 2014 – we can’t wait to see the results!
Remember that BBC report last year that suggested solar trees will be popular in cities by 2050?. If these Stanford researchers are successful, we can’t help but wonder: is it only a matter of time before 3D printing and solar power are fused together to create the trees that will populate the parks of the future?
Environmentally, this could be a great way to synthetically generate more nature and green spaces in our cities. Furthermore, perhaps we will be able to 3D print so many of the things we currently use trees to produce, paving the way for the preservation of more of our natural greenery after all!
Can you imagine enjoying a sunny afternoon in a park full of solar trees? Or would it be a step too far?