By Klaus with K, CC-BY-SA-3.0, or CC-BY-SA-2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.
Rio de Janeiro
The foundations for a 3D printing revolution are being laid in Brazil.
As one of the top emerging economies in the world, Brazil's 3D printing uptake is one to watch.
The nation is one of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) group of burgeoning markets and has therefore been identified as a major industrial grower on an international level.
And as investment continues to percolate through the Brazilian economy and major organisations such as General Motors and Toyota set up production facilities in the South American nation, it is natural 3D printing technologies are explored as a means of expanding the country's maturing industry.
The medical and dental arena is seeing some of the most exciting developments in 3D printing around the world and interest in using the technology in orthodontics is becoming particularly successful in Brazil.
In January, Stratasys announced that Compass3D, a leading provider of 3D Digital Solutions, has begun offering Stratasys 3D Printing Solutions in Brazil.
Director of global dental at Stratasys Avi Cohen commented: "Brazil has a rapidly growing dental market and the digital dentistry market will match that growth as new dental practices purchase the latest systems and equipment.
"We are excited to partner with Compass3D, one of the most innovative, growing companies in the dental market in Brazil, to offer the Objet 3D Printing platform for additive manufacturing and our advanced medically-approved materials."
Transforming the shanty towns
3D printing is also being suggested as a means of helping to deliver Brazil's huge population of poverty-stricken families from the sprawling shanty towns that litter the vast nation.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported this month that the growing "makers movement" coupled with the increasing affordability of 3D printing technologies is letting consumers become creators and WikiHouse.cc could be the facility that provides the cheap accommodation needed to move the millions of people who live in the immense favelas.
WikiHouse is an open-source construction kit that allows people to create and share designs for properties and then print the pieces for as little as a couple of thousand dollars.
Currently, the organisation is working in the Brazilian shanty towns and hopes to transform the slums.
WikiHouse architect Alastair Parvin was quoted as saying: "Slums are being built anyway. If people are going to build things for themselves, wouldn't it be cool if what they make is not rubbish?"
In a similar vein, it is thought that the development of recycling materials to be fed into 3D printers could impact on the shanty towns.
Researchers at Michigan Technological University are experimenting with materials for making milk jugs and the machines that could process them as a means of making 3D printing more sustainable and reducing the amount of landfill waste.
Joshua Pearce, project leader at the university, said: "Imagine people living by a landfill in Brazil, recycling plastic and making useful products or even just [having] 'fair trade filament' to sell."
A handful of major 3D printing players have taken an interest in Brazil, setting up shop and exploring investment opportunities in the South American marketplace.
Objet has signed a distribution agreement with Anacom Electronica for the Brazil market, while Solidoodle is investigating selling its 3D printers in the country in partnership with Brazilian company Linotech 3D.
So the industry is making inroads into this emerging economy, which is expected to become a major power in the coming decades - so those who have taken the time to invest in Brazil at this stage could find they are reaping the benefits in the coming years.