9 Ways 3D Printing Can Change the World

Christine Erickson

What once seemed like something straight out of The Jetsons has become a very common utility across all industries -- 3D printing could very well revolutionize the way we manufacture, research and fix things.

Although this new(ish) form of technology is widely recognized as a way to produce mass amounts of prototypes and other forms of commerce, it's potential reaches further than that. Scientists are researching exact replicas of fossils to study dinosaurs and museums can now make copies of sculptures -- in other words, fragile, important pieces of history that used to be untouchable can now be handled freely.

[More from Mashable: The Long and Winding Road to Personal Heads-Up Displays]

SEE ALSO: Will 3D Printing End Mass Manufacturing? [PICS]

This also makes printing on-demand a more viable option for even small businesses, which could make manufacturing more economical and efficient. However, 3D printers are not being used just to make dozens of clones of the same product. You can create personalized novelties and decor.

[More from Mashable: Pinterest Becomes Top Traffic Driver for Women’s Magazines]

Here are nine ways 3D printing is making lives easier.

1. Medical Procedures

Recently, an 83 year-old woman underwent the first-ever custom transplant of a lower jaw made by a 3D printer.

The patient — who can now chew and speak with ease — suffered from a chronic bone infection. Doctors were worried that at her age, reconstructive surgery could have caused complications.

Image courtesy of Flickr, sean94110

Click here to view this gallery.

This story originally published on Mashable here.