The educational development company IdeaCo has teamed up with 3D Systems to create the City X Project. The mission of the project is to "Use 3D printing, 3D scanning and 3D modeling to imagine a better future with kids around the world." Children age eight to ten are given access to 3D technology and encouraged to come up with their own solutions to real-world problems.
City X staff members plan to visit schools in six different countries and conduct three day workshops that teach staff and students how to use cutting-edge 3D technology. During the workshops the children get to pretend they are one of thirty two explorers to visit a newly-established colony on an alien planet. They work to help the colony solve the issues of pollution, water transport, sanitation and more. Once they have an idea going the kids make a model of their solution, scan it and then get some help printing it out. At the end of the session, they get to take their 3D printed models home. All of the ideas are compiled into a City X database that lets children around the world compare ideas and see how children in other countries would solve the colony's problems.
The City X Project recently traveled to Lebanon to work with kids during the Beirut Design Week. It was their first ground-test of the project and despite having to overcome power outages and a few language barriers, it was a success. They also recently formed a partnership with Made In Space. As a result of the agreement one lucky kid that participates in the City X Project this year will have their model 3D printed in space aboard the International Space Station.
City X isn't the only 3D printing project that's out of this world right now. The International Space Station is getting their 3D printer sometime this month and NASA is exploring ways to print rocket parts, food and even cells in space.