Tag Archives: toys
Collaborators from Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University are using 3D printing to create the future of interactive toys they call “Printed Optics.” Excerpts from a research paper are included below.
We present an approach to 3D printing custom optical elements for interactive devices labelled Printed Optics. Printed Optics enable sensing, display, and illumination elements to be directly embedded in the casing or mechanical structure of an interactive device. Using these elements, unique display surfaces, novel illumination techniques, custom optical sensors, and embedded optoelectronic components can be digitally fabricated for rapid, high ﬁdelity, highly customized interactive devices. Printed Optics is part of our long term vision for interactive devices that are 3D printed in their entirety. In this paper we explore the possibilities for this vision afforded by fabrication of custom optical elements using today’s 3D printing technology.
Printed Optics is a new approach to creating custom optical elements for interactive devices using 3D printing. Printed Optics enable sensing, display, and illumination elements to be directly embedded in the body of an interactive device. Using these elements, unique display surfaces, novel illumination techniques, custom optical sensors, and robust embedded components can be digitally fabricated for rapid, high fidelity, customized interactive devices.
3D printing allows digital geometry to be rapidly fabricated into physical form with micron accuracy. Usable optical elements can be designed and simulated in software, then 3D printed from transparent material with surprising ease and affordability.
But Disney’s vision is much grander. Watch the video below.
More at Disney Research.
With iPods and iPads today, most kids probably don’t even know what a “record” is. Back in 1971, vinyl was the medium for listening to music, and Fisher-Price naturally sold a kids record player which would produce sound by reading plastic discs. The only songs available on this player were kids’ songs, of course, until a 3D printing enthusiast figured out how to print his own records.
Instructables user Fred27 detailed his method:
A little while ago I stumbled across an old toy record player made by Fisher Price in the 1970s, and decided that what it really needed was some new tunes. I got thinking about it, reverse engineered the way it was encoded, got out my trusty CNC mill and created an Instructable all about it right here.
I was blown away by the response to it, but I only know of one person who had a goat milling their own. Whilst the mill did a great job (and I explained how to convert your own too), a CNC mill is not the sort of thing that everyone has access too.
So as promised, I decided that a 3D printed version would follow to give more people a chance to get creative. More people have a 3D printer or have access to one. And even if you don’t, once you have the STL file there are plenty of places that will bring your creation to life and mail you a physical copy.
I thought about just adding to my previous Instructable, but to be honest it’s only the music editing side of things that’s the same. Everything else from the file creation to the production is very different. I thought a new Instructable would be neater.
Fred27 actually created his own software to map music to vinyl.
Once you have the CAD file, you can either print on your 3D printer or order from a 3D printing marketplace.
Below is a video of the Fisher Price record player using one of the 3D printed records to play Stairway to Heaven and other tunes.
If you want to buy some of Fred’s records, head over to Shapeways to pick up Stairway to Heaven or Star Wars on a 3D printed record.
Now 3D Systems is taking a page from LEGO and other popular toy manufacturers by making collectable toy robots whose parts are interchangeable.
From the 3D Systems press release:
3D Systems Corporation announced today the immediate availability of its new Cubify® toy robots designed specifically for printing on Cube®, the world’s first home 3D printer. The entire collection can be downloaded and printed at home on your Cube 3D printer.
Starting at just $4.99, Cube printed robots are also available for home delivery through Cubify and come individually packaged or in sets of three with exciting options to choose from like ray-guns and rocket-packs.
Cubify® robots are moveable, poseable and printable in colorful, lego-like plastic. Printed parts can be snapped together, swapped and colors mixed to create an amazing new robot, or an entire crew. With thousands of possible combinations, Cubify robots provide hours of educational and creative fun for kids and adults alike.
“We are thrilled with these cute, playful new Cubify robots. Kids of all ages can collect the entire series as they create unique configurations to amaze their friends,” said Cathy Lewis, Vice President of Global Marketing for 3D Systems. “Our excitement continues to build with each new toy and app we make available to our growing Cubify community.”
In a fantastic opinion piece by technology entrepreneur and academic Vivek Wadhwa, the case is made that America will be the center of manufacturing, not China. This won’t happen through increasing Chinese labor costs or monetary policy, but through American innovation in technology. Specific innovations cited include robotics, AI, 3D printing, and nanotechnology.
Below are Wadhwa’s thoughts on 3D printing:
A type of manufacturing called “additive manufacturing” is now making it possible to cost-effectively “print” products. In conventional manufacturing, parts are produced by humans using power-driven machine tools, such as saws, lathes, milling machines, and drill presses, to physically remove material until you’re left with the shape desired. This is a cumbersome process that becomes more difficult and time-consuming with increasing complexity. In other words, the more complex the product you want to create, the more labor is required and the greater the effort.
In additive manufacturing, parts are produced by melting successive layers of materials based on three-dimensional models — adding materials rather than subtracting them. The ”3D printers” that produce these parts use powered metal, droplets of plastic, and other materials — much like the toner cartridges that go into laser printers. This allows the creation of objects without any sort of tools or fixtures. The process doesn’t produce any waste material, and there is no additional cost for complexity. Just as, thanks to laser printers, a page filled with graphics doesn’t cost much more than one with text (other than the cost of toner), with 3D printers we can print a sophisticated 3D structure for what it would cost to print something simple.
Three-D printers can already create physical mechanical devices, medical implants, jewelry, and even clothing. The cheapest 3D printers, which print rudimentary objects, currently sell for between $500 and $1,000. Soon, we will have printers for this price that can print toys and household goods. By the end of this decade, we will see 3D printers doing the small-scale production of previously labor-intensive crafts and goods. It is entirely conceivable that, in the next decade, manufacturing will again become a local industry and it will be possible to 3D print electronics and use giant 3D printing scaffolds to print entire buildings. Why would we ship raw materials all the way to China and then ship completed products back to the United States when they can be manufactured more cheaply locally, on demand?
Read the full article at foreignpolicy.com.
American flag photo by Loving Earth used under Creative Commons license.
Vivek Wadhwa photo by BAIA used under Creative Commons license.