More news on the rapid-manufacturing front as C|Net has a short article on a custom shoe outfit setting up shop. From the article (Link):
A new manufacturing process is set to bring mass production to tailor-made shoes that can be built layer by layer from a 3-D footprint.
First to benefit will be professional soccer players, who are to be given tailor-printed boots offering more protection.
London-based company Prior 2 Lever, launching the system in April, will first scan a player’s feet by laser to obtain a digital model.
I must admit that beyond what Nike has been doing with their Nike iD program (read more – Link), shoes weren’t on my radar as being the most likely product to spearhead the technological shift to rapid-manufacturing. There are a few other products that come to mind which would seem a better fit for the technology in its present state. On the other hand, it’s a great way to get the word out to consumers.
I did a quick google on Prior 2 Lever and only found this abstract from a conference last September (Link). That might be a good stepping off point for more research… later.