Communication dean says 3D printing is “the Internet of things”

In the future, we’ll be able to create objects in our homes and in our businesses
Communication dean says 3D printing is “the Internet of things” David Jaffe shows off Lynn's 3D printer and some of the objects it has printed

Published Sep. 04, 2013

Although 3D printing may still be a foreign concept to some, Lynn University’s dean of the College of International Communication, David Jaffe, has been watching the trend for several years. 

In terms of the impact 3D printing will have, “all you have to do is think about the Internet, how it impacted our daily lives, and multiply that,” said Jaffe. “Up until now, the Internet has been the Internet of information, giving us the opportunity to access facts, figures and people all around the world. 3D printing brings us into a new era – the Internet of things. Before long, we’ll be able to create objects in our homes and in our businesses.”

According to a recent article on, 3D printing could generate economic impact of $230 billion to $550 billion per year by 2025. 

“The possibilities with 3D printing are endless,” said Jaffe. “Currently, most 3D printers can create small objects like keys, whistles and boxes. In the future, we’ll be printing our clothing, shoes and even the food we eat. In the medical community, we’ll be able to print body organs and skin. As we continue to innovate and as the technology gets better, faster and cheaper, the everyday applications of 3D printing will grow at an incredible rate.” 


Although the media has discussed the controversy of 3D printed guns, knives and other weapons, Jaffe said, “The biggest controversy we will witness with 3D printing is with intellectual property rights.” 

“In addition to having 3D printers, we also have 3D scanners. We’ll be able scan almost any object and reprint it,” said Jaffe. “It’s similar to what we have done with copying music and movies. If you hold a patent on a particular item, if I can scan it and reproduce it, how are you going to benefit from your patent?” 

Manufacturing Changes

Because 3D printing is additive rather than subtractive, “it is actually more efficient than the traditional manufacturing process,” said Jaffe. “When you 3D print an object, you start with nothing and print the portions of the object you want. Therefore, no excess material is wasted. Whereas with the traditional subtractive process, you start with a large block of material, then chip away the excess until you have created the desired object.” 

As far as 3D scanners. “This will have a major impact on the retail industry, particularly on ground stores,” said Jaffe. “Rather than going to a store and buying a wrench, for example, one could scan an existing wrench – or buy a 3D file online – and then print it out at home using composite or metal.”

Students Benefit

Lynn’s College of International Communication bought its first 3D printer almost two years ago and has been incorporating 3D design and printing into its multimedia design curriculum since. 

“It’s important that we teach our students not just about technology today, but also about technology for tomorrow,” said Jaffe. “Designers of the future will need to know how to design in 3D, and we feel teaching our students about emerging technologies will make them more qualified for future jobs.” 

More on Jaffe

David Jaffe, dean of Lynn’s College of International Communication, helped establish the first cable television origination station in the U.S. In 1985, he received a grant from the federal government to conduct research on a telephone-based broadcast delivery system that paved the way for Internet radio and television streaming. 

Jaffe specializes in emerging communication technologies. In this role, he can speak to the media regarding 3D printing, modern mass media and long-range prospects for print and multimedia journalism.