As 3D printing begins transforming areas like the medical industry with very serious innovations that often remind us everything from our favorite sci-fi movies to the Six Million Dollar Man, other areas are experiencing significant positive impact too–and they don’t all involve life or death scenarios–or work. There’s no finer example of this than the toy industry, where many designers and innovators are reaping the rewards of independence through new technology–better yet though, the kids are enjoying all the new toys and fun.
Many manufacturers see the rising popularity of digital design and 3D printing in the home, with kids often taking the initiative—and they are making strides to provide kid-friendly equipment, kits, and more. With the knowledge that often 3D printers themselves are still too cost-prohibitive for some—and especially as kids and parents are just dipping their toes in the water—Pley has just begun offering a rental program for 3D printers, along with their regular toy rental programs that start at $9.99 a month. Not only that, they will also offer a streaming service so that basically, kids have all the choices and ‘supplies’ they need for downloading and fabricating a wide option of fun stuff.
This is a company that doesn’t mind pushing boundaries when it comes to finding new ways for kids to be entertained and learn at the same time. Their niche currently is known as that of ‘the Netflix-for-Toys.’ This appeals to kids, of course, who love the self gratification of picking something out and having it immediately—but also benefits parents who can watch toys go right back out the door after use.
“Pley is inventing the future of play and, since it launched in 2013, it has constantly stayed at the forefront of innovation,” said Ranan Lachman, co-founder and CEO of Pley. “Our goal is to inspire and develop children to think creatively and release their potential by creating their own toys. Kids are significantly more creative than adults, so why do we keep buying them toys designed by adults? At Pley, we believe that children should create their own toys.”
Their concept fits right in with all the benefits of 3D printing, which offers virtually anyone the opportunity to find a design that works for them or is relevant to part of a larger project they might be working on. The technology is very intuitive for children—and parents may be very surprised to see how quickly they figure out the hardware, software, and choose materials—with little help. Often, the biggest problem is affordability, accessibility, and just getting the tools in front of the younger generation.
“We are excited about the recent advances in 3D printing that allow us to rent 3D printers and let customers print their own toys at home. We plan to stream to our customers a catalog of 1,000 toy designs so children can print their favorite toys and design their own using our software.”
Pley’s mission, as the leading toy rental service (this may come as a surprise to you to find out that there are any of these services to begin with!) is to help encourage creativity and learning while allowing parents to save money. What we like as well is that they realize their programs help reduce clutter, eliminating the piling up of toys kids have long ago lost interest in—and that’s an enormous benefit in itself!
There are over 500 toys to choose from—and they can be swapped out whenever they are ready to move on to the next item. This is a manufacturer who wants to see the democratization of toys on all levels as well, displaying their dedicating for all ages and makers with the platform, Pleyworld, which offers crowdsourcing where children actually vote on designs they like the most. From here, Pley will extract the most popular designs and stream them, requiring memberships—again, harkening back to the Netflix motif. Among these designs are some which have already won awards and have been established as preferred items by their members.
“Pley democratizes the toy selection and creation, taking the toy industry from its current guess-based, adult-centric design process to a more consumer-driven design,” said Lachman. “Adding 3D printers to our rental catalog and streaming toy designs is a natural next step in our mission to provide children access to the best educational toys.”
The new system being offered by Pley is truly something that kids and parents should find refreshing and exciting—and how curious we will be to see if other companies follow suit. They will offer a catalog of toys for rent, and within that there will also be options for a list of kid-friendly 3D printers that can be rented. The machines are delivered for the convenience of the users, and if they fall in love with the technology, they can purchase the printers.
The goodness of this new program just continues as well, allowing for kids to upload their designs to Pleyworld so that others in their age group can vote on them. According to the company, if a design receives 5,000 votes, it can then be streamed, as well as being offered as a toy by Pley. Is this a service you’d be interested in trying? Discuss in the Pley 3D Printer Rentals forum over on 3DPB.com.[Source: Manufacturing Tomorrow]