We noticed EADS’s 3D printer bike last year and YouTube video about the project is getting noticed again. Skip to the end, after the long buildup, to a reveal of the bike actually being ridden. In the maker world, those that build things, it’s remarkable.
What does this mean? Replicants in our future? It’s another step in changing up how things are made and an industrial-strength version of the desktop printer geeks use to make plastic trinkets. The process is similar to stereo lithography, a process used for rapid prototyping. So, in the Airbike scenario, you could skip a few revs of your hot new urban-bike design and get a prototype out to your partners before making a run in the factory. The plastic version v. clay or drawings is rideable and tactile. That’s what consumer product makers do now with computer peripherals and a whole range of products. Textura Design (our parent company) did that with Clip-n-Seals years ago.
If AIRBUS had added a hinges to the build, for a fold, it’ll look just like the award-winner Tern Verge Duo.
Note: The resemblance to the robot-riding bike’s shaky start and wobbly ride didn’t go unnoticed.