Here at Objet we're almost swimming in a variety of different 3D printed models and prototypes. So I took this opportunity to get some of my favorites together onto my desk and have a go at explaining them within the wider context of additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping.
In short, inkjet-based 3D printing is the only technology that can really simulate the true look, feel and function of complex assembled goods. And this is thanks to the wide variety of materials and the inkjet process itself - which can simultaneously jet different materials from the separate inkjet head nozzles. This enables you to combine materials to create different color shades, different Shore A values and even simulate engineering plastic durability. It also allows you to selectively place different materials within a single model. Enjoy!
(Note: Many thanks to Neri Oxman, Assistant Professor at the MIT Media Lab for providing the 3D printed chair/woman model in the clip above)