A company called Create it REAL, which is a 3D printing research company has developed a new structure for 3D printers with a focus on Intellectual Property protection.
The new structure allows users to 3D print files without having access to the original 3D file itself.
This process actually works by directly decrypting the file loaded to the printer using their own processor that they have created.
The current way we access 3D models is a two step method. We access the 3D model sharing website and we download it to your computer, this leaves some venerability between the transfer. From your computer to the 3D printer some people say that there is a hacking risk.
Could this be overcome instead of using a USB cable or the latest way of sending your prints to the printer is via a Wi-Fi connection. Is the original way better which was via a Micro Memory card and even a standard SD card does this solve the problem of your print/printer being hacked.
3D File Encryption:
So what does this mean, in theory the 3D prints market would open up to purchase a .STL (Stereo Lithography) files which gives more security and peace of mind to designers.
This could be beneficial to corporations and collaborators who would be worried about allowing access to the original design files, as the 3D printing community has a large focus on tinkering and modification of designs for their own personal use.
Intellection Property Loss:
Create it REAL mentions Gartner which is a research and advisory company, who predicts in that by next year (2018) 3D printing will lose about $100 billion per year in Intellectual Property theft.
With this processor, it is a great idea but like every other piece of technology someone will find a way to modify it to get around the encryption.
Clarke, C. (2017). Create it REAL creates encryption platform for 3D printers to prevent intellectual property losses. [online] 3D Printing Industry. Available at: https://3dprintingindustry.com/news/create-real-creates-encryption-platform-3d-printers-prevent-intellectual-property-losses-115772/ [Accessed 14 Jun. 2017].
Garnter (2014). Gartner Says Uses of 3D Printing Will Ignite Major Debate on Ethics and Regulation. [online] Available at: https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2658315 [Accessed 14 Jun. 2017].