New technology is giving rise to never-before-possible businesses that are selling products such as iPhone cases, architectural models, and even low-cost, customizable prosthetic limbs, reports the New York Times. San Francisco-based Bespoke Innovations is using advances in a technology known as 3D printing to create prosthetic limb casings wrapped in embroidered leather, shimmering metal, or whatever else someone might want. Scott Summit, a co-founder of Bespoke, and his partner, an orthopedic surgeon, are set to open a studio this fall where they will sell the limb coverings and experiment with printing entire customized limbs that could cost a tenth of comparable artificial limbs made using traditional methods. A 3D printer, which has nothing to do with paper printers, creates an object by stacking one layer of material—typically plastic or metal—on top of another, much the same way a pastry chef makes baklava with sheets of phyllo dough. The technology has been radically transformed from its origins as a tool used by manufacturers and designers to build prototypes. These days, it is giving rise to a string of never-before-possible businesses. And while some wonder how successfully the technology will make the transition from manufacturing applications to producing consumer goods, its use is exploding…

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Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura