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There have been many notable accomplishments in the last few decades. Some might go as far as calling them giant leaps 😊. We have planted a flag on Mount Everest, put footprints on the moon and now, even private companies are sending citizens to the moon!captain kirk in space, finally! Technological advancements continue to evolve at warp speed: launching the internet, introducing cell phones and 3D printing are just a few examples. Looking back, can you remember how you managed without the internet or your cell phone? These are all astonishing achievements that required notable imagination and innovation. But what do they solve for the immediate future, other than putting Captain Kirk in space, finally 😊?

Recently, I saw a story about the Maldives sinking due to global warming and the rising ocean. Every year, the beaches of the Maldives become a bit smaller. One day, they may disappear altogether. The Maldives is located at the lowest sea level of any country in the world. They suffer from frequent floods, a lack of fresh water, and similar ongoing environmental threats. One of the most concerning threats is the disappearing coral reef, an essential component in helping absorb wave energy and reduce beach erosion.

So, what is being done to solve these problems? To help correct the coral reef erosion, 3D printers are being used to print a base that is attached to the reef to encourage growth. For the sinking island, an island has been built that is twice as high as the current island. They are also working on building a floating island that will rise and fall with the tides. Most of this has been or will be accomplished through 3D printing.

When I first heard about 3D printing, I wondered what it would be used for. The initial intent was for manufacturing, but once the technology was developed imagination took it so much farther. Talk about innovation! Who would have thought that 3D printing could be used to build islands, rebuild coral reefs, and possibly help a city survive?

Innovation is awesome! Often, we have interesting ideas to help solve small problems without seeing the greater potential. So many things have evolved by happenstance, repurposing ideas, or inventions to solve different problems. Even the internet, originally intended for military communications, has evolved. Now, it is a worldwide resource and marketplace for both commercial and private activity; who would have imagined that!?

We should never give up on our ideas and never stop innovating! One small step today could be a giant leap for mankind in the future!

“Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”  – Dean Kamen

What will you innovate this weekend?

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