3D printers are becoming almost ubiquitous, ranging from small, relatively inexpensive home devices to industrial units. Glowforge is a printer with a difference; it uses a CO2 laser that can, according to the company, cut and etch patterns into almost any type of material, from metal to leather to paper.
The device, which somewhat resembles an old-fashioned scanner, works in a variety of ways. You can send a design (created with any popular application or downloaded from the Glowforge library) to the laser via a Wi-Fi cloud connection; the laser will also follow a drawing placed on top of it. You then put your materials in a drawer at the bottom of the device; the system detects the type of materials and adjusts its cutting strength appropriately.
While Glowforge's website focuses on crafts and home uses, company reps stressed that the printer can also be used for business applications -- for example, when engineers want to design a prototype of a part.