A few days ago the well-known toy manufacturer Hasbro, who created such toys as Mr Potato Head, Transformers and My Little Pony formed a partnership with 3D Systems; a consumer electronics company that sells 3D printers to end customers. The two companies intend to co-develop a new play experience powered by 3D printing. The exact details of the venture is still unclear but Hasbro President & CEO Brian Goldner said:
“We believe 3D printing offers endless potential to bring incredible new play experiences for kids and we’re excited to work with 3D Systems, a recognized industry leader in this space.”
Without further details all we can do is speculate. It is likely that children will be able to design and print additional accessories for their Mr Potato Head or My Little Pony. Design and print additional weapons and extra tools for their beloved transformers or even custom masks to go with their Ironman dress up kit.
From a more practical standpoint, there is also the possibility that users (given the necessary files) could print out replacement lightsabers for Star Wars toys, or additional accessories for other toy brands. Giving users this ability to print replacements when they need them could help Hasbro save overhead by cutting out shipping costs, whilst still allowing the company to take in a profit on the sale of those digital files.
Sadly, the biggest drawback to this partnership is the cost. Currently, a decent 3D printer costs around £750 / $1300 so it will only be a select few who can take advantage of this service. However, whatever may com of this it does give us a glimpse of the future of children’s toys. How many times have you lost a small part of one of your kids toys… Being able to print off a replacement would be fantastic…