Want a new toy? You may soon be able to 3D print it — without heading off to the nearest Toys”R”Us.
Let’s face it, as a kid there were always those toys that you wished you could design yourself. For some, that may’ve been a Hot Wheels car. For others, a Barbie doll. In any case, today’s generation may finally get that opportunity. That’s because toy makers are leveraging the powers of the Maker Movement to give children the keys to the door of endless imagination. Mattel and Autodesk have announced a partnership that will enable kids to customize their own 3D-printed playthings through a dedicated online hub starting in the second half of this year.
The joint initiative will provide a new immersive experience by combining the physical toys of today with the digital adventures of tomorrow. An upcoming series of apps will empower consumers — both young and old — to imagine, design and build their own toys, while 3D printing will bring them to life.
“Autodesk is dedicated to providing powerful, yet easy-to-use 3D design and 3D printing apps to unlock the creativity in everyone,” explained Samir Hanna, VP and GM, Consumer and 3D Printing at Autodesk. “Partnering with an iconic brand like Mattel provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate how Spark, our open 3D printing platform, can help create amazing experiences that bridge the digital and physical worlds and push the boundaries of creative play.”
Tapping directly into the burgeoning DIY trend, this exclusive collaboration aspires to bring hands-on design experiences to support an interactive learning environment through fun apps so that kids (and grown-ups who are still kids at heart) can also learn while they play.
“We’re constantly inspired by the passion and creativity we see among kids around the world,” said Doug Wadleigh, SVP and GM Toy Box, Mattel. “Technology is changing daily and by harnessing Mattel’s expertise in play and Autodesk’s expertise with creative apps and 3D printing, we’re able to offer a new kind of 3D design experience, continuing the Mattel legacy of inspiring imagination and creativity.”
While there is no indication as to which toy lines Mattel is targeting to get a 3D printing makeover, this is certainly just the tip of the iceberg and the start of a revolutionary trend. Just the other day, Disney Research unveiled a fabric 3D printer that was capable of creating plush, embeddable toys.