The Japanese government recently announced plans to fund the introduction of 3D printers into educational settings, where students can receive hands on experience and education on 3D printing technology.
Japan hopes educate students on this apparent wave of the future. The education would help to keep them in competition with the US who has had plans in place to introduce 3D printers into schools since 2010.
Japan hopes that by introducing technology early, that students will become comfortable with the technology as well as research and design tools. The 3D printer technology will also allow young students to engage their imaginations, while learning these new skills. The introduction of 3D printers in schools will allow for not only just fun creativity but it will hopefully lead to more complex endeavors such as 3D printed organs.
Currently in Japan, 3D printing has been used in many different sectors, and the Japanese economic ministry views 3D printing technology as having a main role in the future of cutting-edge manufacturing. The decision to fund 3D printing in educational settings is in line with this vision.
The Japanese Economy, Trade, and Industry Ministry (METI) plans to reach middle schools and high schools by 2015. This summer, the ministry will choose several universities and technical schools to receive a subsidy for two-thirds of their expenses related to the introduction of 3D printing technology into their facilities.
METI has also budgeted 4.5 billion yen, about 44 million USD, into the 2014 budget to support research and development for 3D printing metal products.
The ministry hopes the funding will help Japan stay on top of technological developments in 3D printing.