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Researchers for the first time have used 3-D printing to make a consumer electronic device, a loudspeaker ready for use almost as soon as it comes off the printer.

The work by roboticist Hod Lipson at Cornell University and his colleagues suggests 3-D printing might soon be mature enough to let people manufacture complete devices on demand.

"The exciting part of this project is that it paves the path to 3-D printing of consumer electronics and active systems," Apoorva Kiran, a Cornell mechanical engineer tells Txchnologist. "A good thing about 3-D printing inks that we developed at our lab is that even though they are for advanced applications, they are not hazardous chemicals, and their recipe is so simple that people can tinker with them even in their garage. With this work we hope that 3-D printing starts an era of open innovation.

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