Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
Peloton 35% CRASH a Lesson of What Happens When One Over Pays for a Loss Making Growth Stock - 1st Dec 21
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: I Fear For Retirees For The Next 20 Years - 1st Dec 21 t
Will the Anointed Finanical Experts Get It Wrong Again? - 1st Dec 21
Main Differences Between the UK and Canadian Gaming Markets - 1st Dec 21
Bitcoin Price TRIGGER for Accumulating Into Alt Coins for 2022 Price Explosion - 30th Nov 21
Omicron Covid Wave 4 Impact on Financial Markets - 30th Nov 21
Can You Hear It? That’s the Crowd Booing Gold’s Downturn - 30th Nov 21
Economic and Market Impacts of Omicron Strain Covid 4th Wave - 30th Nov 21
Stock Market Historical Trends Suggest A Strengthening Bullish Trend In December - 30th Nov 21
Crypto Market Analysis: What Trading Will Look Like in 2022 for Novice and Veteran Traders? - 30th Nov 21
Best Stocks for Investing to Profit form the Metaverse and Get Rich - 29th Nov 21
Should You Invest In Real Estate In 2021? - 29th Nov 21
Silver Long-term Trend Analysis - 28th Nov 21
Silver Mining Stocks Fundamentals - 28th Nov 21
Crude Oil Didn’t Like Thanksgiving Turkey This Year - 28th Nov 21
Sheffield First Snow Winter 2021 - Snowballs and Snowmen Fun - 28th Nov 21
Stock Market Investing LESSON - Buying Value - 27th Nov 21
Corsair MP600 NVME M.2 SSD 66% Performance Loss After 6 Months of Use - Benchmark Tests - 27th Nov 21
Stock Maket Trading Lesson - How to REALLY Trade Markets - 26th Nov 21
SILVER Price Trend Analysis - 26th Nov 21
Federal Reserve Asks Americans to Eat Soy “Meat” for Thanksgiving - 26th Nov 21
Is the S&P 500 Topping or Just Consolidating? - 26th Nov 21
Is a Bigger Drop in Gold Price Just Around the Corner? - 26th Nov 21
Financial Stocks ETF Sector XLF Pullback Sets Up A New $43.60 Upside Target - 26th Nov 21
A Couple of Things to Think About Before Buying Shares - 25th Nov 21
UK Best Fixed Rate Tariff Deal is to NOT FIX Gas and Electric Energy Tariffs During Winter 2021-22 - 25th Nov 21
Stock Market Begins it's Year End Seasonal Santa Rally - 24th Nov 21
How Silver Can Conquer $50+ in 2022 - 24th Nov 21
Stock Market Betting on Hawkish Fed - 24th Nov 21
Stock Market Elliott Wave Trend Forecast - 24th Nov 21
Your once-a-year All-Access Financial Markets Analysis Pass - 24th Nov 21
Did Zillow’s $300 million flop prove me wrong? - 24th Nov 21
Now Malaysian Drivers Renew Their Kurnia Car Insurance Online With Fincrew.my - 24th Nov 21
Gold / Silver Ratio - 23rd Nov 21
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: Can We Get To 5500SPX In 2022? But 4440SPX Comes First - 23rd Nov 21
A Month-to-month breakdown of how Much Money Individuals are Spending on Stocks - 23rd Nov 21
S&P 500: Rallying Tech Stocks vs. Plummeting Oil Stocks - 23rd Nov 21
Like the Latest Bond Flick, the US Dollar Has No Time to Die - 23rd Nov 21
Why BITCOIN NEW ALL TIME HIGH Changes EVERYTHING! - 22nd Nov 21
Cannabis ETF MJ Basing & Volatility Patterns - 22nd Nov 21
The Most Important Lesson Learned from this COVID Pandemic - 22nd Nov 21
Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis - 22nd Nov 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

4D Printing Profit Potential Makes Me Drool

Companies / Tech Stocks Oct 29, 2013 - 01:33 PM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Companies

Keith Fitz-Gerald writes: After more than 30 years in the markets, I've seen all kinds of new technologies that are supposed to change the world. Most are pumped by little-known companies with overly hyped marketing, aggressive underwriters, and little more than vaporware. To say I'm jaded would be an understatement.

But I ran across something recently that positively made my mouth drop.


We already know about 3D printing. It's all the rage right now, because you can buy a printer for a few thousand bucks and cook up whatever your computer can plot.

But 4D printing?

I don't know whether to be terrified or excited as all hell about this.

Probably a little of both...

"Machines that Assemble Themselves"

3D printing, itself a fairly new technology, has quickly found a host of different applications, ranging from the fun, to the artistic, to the highly practical. Websites like Thingiverse.com and Shapeways.com have sprung up, with collaborators contributing all sorts of interesting stuff. So far we've seen plastic toys, parts, and some utility tools.

Companies are well on their way to creating 3D applications for a variety of industries, including consumer products, aerospace, architecture, and manufacturing. Practical uses include concept modeling and functional prototyping.

Some more aggressive individuals are already pushing the limits of this technology to make firearms, which are obviously highly controversial. There are also a number of really innovative biotech firms making - for lack of a better term - "living lattice" to replace ears and noses using tissue that's effectively grown around a printable 3D structure.

4D printing is the kind of stuff that Skynet - the self-aware computer at the center of the famous Terminator franchise - would recognize.

Professor Anna Balazs, the Robert v.d. Luft Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering, describes 4D as "adaptive, biomimetic composites that reprogram their shape, properties or functionality on demand based upon external stimuli."

In plain English, she's talking about camouflage that changes based on its surroundings. Self-adaptive coatings that immediately heal inanimate objects or protect people when the material detects a threat. Submarines that hide based on the water they're traveling through. Airplanes that can change themselves based on what they're carrying and where they're flying.

Or, machines that assemble themselves and manufacturing that can take a pile of parts without human intervention and transform them into everything from bridges to beer bottles.

Imagine, for example, the Hoover Dam building itself or the Golden Gate Bridge coming to fruition without a single human laborer lifting so much as a rivet.

Non-military uses could include protective paint that immediately erases graffiti as Hollywood envisioned in the Sylvester Stallone film, Demolition Man.

The potential medical uses are simply mind-boggling. Imagine what doctors could do with implantable materials that alter based on a heart patient's needs or a burn victim's healing process. If they can alter materials on their own, integrating that with living tissue is not far away.

And the military, naturally, is exceptionally interested, judging from the $855,000 joint research contract the U.S. Army Research Office recently awarded to Harvard University, the University of Illinois, and the University of Pittsburgh. Bear in mind, this is on top of the tens of millions they've already spent on nanotechnology where self-assembly already exists.

To date, 4D printing is confined to some neat, "gee-whiz!" stuff, like a long strand of material that when exposed to water transforms itself into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's moniker, MIT.

The real magic - and the real money - is going to come from the commercialization of whatever scientists develop in the next few years. It will eliminate the brute-force manufacturing techniques of today and enable an entirely new class of companies. In the process, it will change the role of labor and the consumption of energy on a truly global scale.

What's most interesting to me, though, is that we're talking about self-intelligent materials that are able to change shape, change properties, and even compute outside the silicon constraints we live with today.

How to Invest in 4D Printing

According to MIT computer scientist Skylar Tibbits, who heads the institution's self-assembly technologies lab, there are two segments holding the most immediate-term potential: extreme environments and large-scale infrastructure.

Take space, which is an obviously extreme environment, for example. The lack of oxygen is an obvious labor constraint. Temperature ranges are significant and radiation is a very real problem. There would be a clear advantage to materials that are able to assemble and reconfigure themselves as needed.

Large-scale infrastructure is at the opposite end of the spectrum. The challenges there are complexity and cost. Self-adaptive materials could overcome current technological and material limitations like size and strength. Imagine, as he notes, water pipes that adapt themselves to flow or even push fluid along by constricting. There would be no valves or costly pumps needed.

Right now the choices are pretty limited - but don't let that stop you if your mind is running in overdrive right now, like mine is.

In the large-scale and manufacturing space, I like Stratasys Ltd. (Nasdaq: SSYS). It's already a leader in 3D printing and is investing heavily in the new materials that will make 4D possible. The company trades at $109 and has a $4.29 billion market cap. The latest data reflect earnings of -0.55 per share, but that may be misleading if the company really taps the potential I believe 4D represents.

In the 4D medical world, Organovo Holdings Inc. (NYSE MKT: ONVO) appears to be off to a good start. They've got a number of bioprinting projects centered around functional human tissue, including a liver product that's planned for 2014. I believe the company will quickly branch into tumor modeling, transplantation, and pharma research.

There's also the ExOne Co. (Nasdaq: XONE). It develops, manufactures, and sells 3D printing machines around the world with an emphasis in the aerospace, automotive, and energy sectors that Tibbets called out as immediate beneficiaries.

3D Systems Corp. (NYSE: DDD) is another player but one that is very expensive considering its PE is 134 as I write this. It's also a growing short magnet, meaning that momentum traders seem to be assembling increasingly bearish positions. According to Yahoo!Finance, for example, the AdvisorShares Ranger Equity Bear ETF (NYSE Arca: HDGE) holds a 1% position. Also according to Yahoo!Finance, 32.5% of float is sold short as of Sept. 30, which is significant considering that 65.7% are institutions or insiders.

And finally, there's good ol' Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ). Rumors are flying that the company is going to enter the 3D printing market next year. While this may be great for 3D consumers and print fanatics, I have a hard time envisioning the company making the jump to 4D. Still, the 2.5% dividend may be compelling enough to justify playing around the edges here.

Now if only I could figure out a way to print money like Bernanke has.

Perhaps he already has a 4D printer, though, judging from the amount of self-assembled hot air in Washington at the moment.

Source :http://moneymorning.com/2013/10/29/4d-printing-potential-makes-me-drool/

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2013 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in