UK grocery store chain Tesco is sending its researchers to Silicon Valley on a fact-finding mission to discover the feasibility of bringing 3D printing to their stores. Potential uses under consideration are printing gifts, toys or even having a catalogue of spare parts for other products sold in the store, so people could print them on demand.
Tesco researcher Paul Wilkinson explains in his blog post,
How about letting kids design their own toys and then actually being able to get them made. What if we had a digital catalogue of spare parts for items that you’d bought? They could be printed on demand and ready for you by the time you’d finished your shopping. You could even take a broken item in to store; we could scan it in 3D, repair it digitally and make you a new one. The potential for 3D technology to revolutionize the way we view stores and what we can get from them is vast.
With 3D-printing being the words on everyone’s lips at the moment, it’s hard to disagree.
The meeting at Silicon Valley will see lead Tesco researchers team up with some of the biggest names and startups in the technology industry and will hopefully be the beginning of the future of retail.