Currently we think of 3D printing as the most technologically advanced way of easily and cheaply creating custom products -- but a research experiment called computational thermoforming could change that. This method could change the way people think about design in the future, specifically when it comes to fabrication.
The technique combines hardware and software to enable you to create one of a kind things from your computer. Computational thermoforming lets you make extremely intricate plastic objects, including masks, molds and models in a variety of textures and colors.
Described by Fast Company's CoDesign as "sort of like artisanal injection molding for hobbyists and Etsy types," this experiment is outlined in a research paper by Christian Schuller, Daniele Panozzo, Anselm Grundhofer, Henning Zimmer, Evgeni Sorkine, Olga Sorkine-Hornung, ETH Zurich and Disney Research.