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3D technology - statistics & facts

3D technologies, in both the digital and physical environments, are playing a greater role in society than ever before. Software and equipment is opening up new possibilities in the augmented and virtual reality (VR/AR) space, from on-the-job training to trauma counselling. 3D printers, devices that create 3D objects based on a digital file, are now so accessible that consumers can pick up a printer and start manufacturing small items at home.

3D media works by giving the illusion of depth by presenting offset images separately to each eye. The human brain then combines these images to form a 3D image. Techniques for achieving this include glasses to combine two images, glasses which filter offset images from a single source, or to have the light source split so that each eye sees a different offset image. As an example, these techniques have been used in cinemas, with the technology evident in some form within the film industry since 1915. As of 2019, there were over 116 thousand digital 3D cinema screens worldwide.

Another method of technology being used to recreate a visual appearance in 3D is by AR and VR devices. VR creates an artificial environment, whereas AR simply makes use of the existing environment by overlaying new information on top of it. In both AR and VR, the information or imagery is made available to the user using headsets. By 2023, it is anticipated that global XR headset shipments will reach over 68 million units, with major companies investing into extended reality (XR) technology, an emerging term for all immersive technologies including AR, VR, and mixed reality (MR).

In addition to 3D cinema and 3D devices, the early 2010s saw the emergence of additive manufacturing and the rise of 3D printing. Some of the leading sectors that employ additive manufacturing systems include the aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, and medical industries. The global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic saw 3D printing technology used to produce medical supplies including face shields, masks, respirators, and test swabs for COVID-19 test kits. The 3D printing market continues to grow and is projected to reach a value of around 25.5 billion U.S. dollars by 2021, reaching 40.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.

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3D technology

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3D printing


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