Imagine having a printer hooked up to your computer that could make anything. Tired of your toothbrush? No problem. Print a new one. Want a chocolate treat? Print it. Need a new dress, new shoes or maybe just new cleats for soccer? Just choose a style and size. Then print, print and print some more.
And why stop there? You might print a fake dinosaur bone. You might also print out a life-size copy of your own head. You could print another printer for a friend. And if your printer was big enough, it could print out the body of a car or even a new house.
No one machine can make all of these things, but three-dimensional printers are getting very close. Engineers have printed every single thing listed above — except the house. (And architects plan to knock that one out by the end of 2013.)