Normally when you think of elaborate balloon designs, you think of a children's birthday party and a marginally creepy clown twisting skinny tubes of air into ridiculous shapes. But thanks to new technology created by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Disney Research, Bozo may soon be put out of business. The balloon-shaper of the future isn't a talented human entertainer — it's a 3D printer.
Using a 3D software model of whatever animal, object, or other shape you happen to desire, the new 3D printer hardware can create a near perfect clone with no twisting required. Of course, given the nature of balloons themselves, certain shapes simply don't work when filled with air; Anything requiring a precise edge or fine details is usually left looking bulgy and malformed.
Still, it's just one more use for 3D printing technology that we hadn't thought of yet, and with everything from false teeth to hermit crab shells joining the replicator revolution, there's no telling what else could be in store. Who knows, by this time next year you could be driving a 3D printed car to work. Ok, maybe not.
This article originally appeared on Tecca
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