Disney has been working on 3D printed optics for interactive electronics.
“Optical mechanics are more reliable and efficient than wires because they’re more protected and are comprised of fewer parts.”
What does ‘optical mechanics’ mean? “By printing “light pipes,” buttons, sliders, [. . .] dials can respond to touch, and displays can animate with mobile projectors. Volumetric displays can also be achieved through printing reflective air sheets, tubes, and dots into a field; projected light only shows up in the air pockets.”
This jumble of words means that soon highly customized, sleek, reliable interactive devices may become common thanks to 3D printing. Many will be excited about the fun potential of Disney’s progress, but with it comes controversy in 3D printing for other industries.