The market for 3D printing, although growing extremely fast, has a ways to go before it really hits the mainstream. The customization of products, via 3D printing, could play a major role in mainstream adoption, as well as making big bucks for the companies which are creative enough to utilize the technology.
Right now we are just beginning to see a few larger, well-known companies offer 3D printing options. For instance, Sesame Street has teamed with Makerbot to offer up designs of their beloved characters, and Hasbro has teamed with Shapeways to offer 3D prints of their ‘My Little Pony’ characters. What companies haven’t yet figured out is that 3D printing can act as an extension to the products they sell, perhaps allowing interchangeable customizable parts to customers who wish to download add-ons to their products or create the own.
One company called Roccat Studios, known for their high quality, innovative gaming peripherals, has taken a step or two outside the box to integrate 3D printing into their latest Roccat Nyth MMO (Massively multiplayer online) mouse. What they have done, is something that I believe could spawn a whole new level of products and devices, within almost every market, providing the keys for customization to the end-user through 3D printing.
The Roccat mouse look similar to most MMO gaming mice, however, this mouse has a modular button design on the right-hand side, which can be set up however the user wishes. Buttons can be moved around to suit the particular gamer’s needs. What makes this idea even more amazing is that gamers can 3D print their own buttons to totally customize their gaming experience. Roccat will also supply design files to customers which can be downloaded and printed if they choose.
“We’ve wanted to develop our own MMO mouse for a long time, but like always, we end up seeing a bigger picture once we begin brainstorming. MMO mice have these massive button grids that are locked in. You can change the button functionality, but what if you don’t like the layout? Our solution is a wholly modular MMO mouse, with interchangeable button combinations that suit the player,” explains Rene Korte, CEO and founder of Roccat. “No two gamers are alike, and because we know that, we’ve gone many steps beyond just allowing them to switch out the in-package button options. Our fans will have access to our button inventory files, and those that are into 3D printing can even create their very own.”
What Roccat has done is take a solid product, and make it unique, putting the design of their product partially in control of the users themselves. Roccat’s idea could easily be extended to hundreds of markets within numerous industries. As the home use of 3D printing expands, products which are defined at the point of purchase will be a thing of the past, as the ability to make and change new modules for products extends their relevance.
There has been no word on the date of this product’s release or the price as of yet. Let’s hear your thoughts on Roccat’s utilization of 3D printing, and how other markets could follow suit, in the Roccat Nyth 3D printed mouse forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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