These Blossoming Flowers Are the First Inflatable 3D-Printed Object

Most objects created by 3D printers are made from hard rigid plastics, but as the hardware is continually being improved, new materials are coming into play. Believe it or not, at Victoria University of Wellington's School of Design, Richard Clarkson has succeeded in 3D printing these flowers from a soft rubber-like material that can actually be inflated.

As air is pumped into inner chambers, these rubber flowers appear to blossom and open up, revealing a colorful inner core. And while this doesn't mean you'll be printing custom-shaped birthday party balloons anytime soon, it's another innovation that brings 3D printers closer and closer to the replicators that deep down we all actually want. [Vimeo via Notcot]