It was exactly a month ago when Mattel and Autodesk teamed up to introduce the $300 Thingmaker 3D Printer; an updated take on the toy company’s original household “toy” manufacturing device of the same name from the 1960s. Not surprisingly, other toymakers want to get in on the “affordable” digital fabrication revolution, too.
Hasbro – a direct competitor of Mattel – just patented a kid-friendly 3D scanner that can digitize existing physical small object using a smartphone camera and custom software. While the company is yet to announce a 3D printer, it’s safe to say that the patents will keep rolling in as the promise of an affordable digital fabrication studio in the living room slowly starts to become more of a reality.
In the patent, the hand-cranked device (they have to shave pennies somewhere) appears to lean heavily on the imaging capabilities of the iPhone. Although existing 3D scanning apps including Autodesk’s 123DCatch would be capable of scanning an object on the device, Hasbro seems to be confirming possible rumors that the upcoming iPhone 7 just might contain dual cameras for creating 3D imagery.
Given how Hasbro was one of the earliest major toy manufacturers to embrace 3D printing – with support from Shapeways no less – it will be interesting to see how aggressive they are as the toy industry shifts to support a new generation of kids who can manufacture their own toys at the touch of a glass display.