The 3D-printing industry is still very much in its infancy. But that could change if the CIA has its way. The intelligence agency’s venture capital firm just invested in Voxel8, the company behind the first multi-material, 3D electronics printer.
What does the CIA want with 3D printing? We can only guess at this point, but we may hear stories one day of how some futuristic James Bond 3D-printed his own gadgets in the field. What’s the potential impact for consumers? The move might just jumpstart a field that has so far been struggling to find its footing.
Voxel8 says they aren’t interested in making “trinkets” — a slam on the kinds of products the broader 3D printing community has certainly come to be known for. Massachusetts-based Voxel8 wants to help people make serious, 3D printed machines with electronic parts fully baked in.
Technically, this new investment isn’t coming directly from the CIA. The money flows from their investment arm, In-Q-Tel, which was founded in 1999 to support the development of technologies that may be useful to the intelligence community.