As additive manufacturing and robotic technologies become more advanced, so should the mechanisms of fun which they afford. That is the view of toymaker 3Doodler, which has made a name by creating 3D ‘pens’ that are aimed at a younger demographic.
In September 2017, 3Doodler celebrated its one-millionth pen sold, but they didn’t rest for long on that laurel. They got right back to innovating, and one of their innovations fell on the intersection of additive manufacturing and robotics. Through a collaboration with robotic toy maker HexaBug, they have conceived a toy that is equal parts 3D printing and robotics.
And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that it’s one cool toy.
At Toy Fair 2018, 3Doodler announced that it would be launching a new line of its Start pens, which constitute a safer way for beginners to get into 3D printing. By using its Doodlemolds outlines, users of the Start will soon be able to draw their own robotic legs, bodies, and motorized parts, combining them to form the robotic HexBugs which have become a hot-seller on the toy market. It’s a natural development for two companies that utilize emergent technologies to make kids smile.
HexBugs have already been onto something special by creating configurable creations with life to them. Now, that configurability will become even more enjoyable as kids will be able to also experience the joyousness of 3D printing. The collaboration has a purpose beyond mere playtime, however.
It’s part of 3Doodle’s initiative to get kids interested in the STEM fields. A series of kits, including the 3D HexBug, aim to help kids develop their spatial reasoning and structural design skills, though it won’t hurt anyone if they crack a smile or a million in the process of strengthening those skills.
The HexBug x 3Doodle collaboration is going to be available in May at a very reasonable price point of $60.