AMS Spring 2023

3D Central’s 3D Printed Phone Case Helps to Catch a Pikachu

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Gotta catch 'em all. Then make them fight each other. And sell your excess Pokemon to a "scientist" for some candy.

Okay, it’s confession time. I’m a mumblety-mumble-year-old woman and I play Pokémon Go. There, I’ve said it. It feels good to get it off my chest. I know it’s popular to be too cool for the game, but I’ve never been popular nor cool, so I guess it works out. And clearly I’m not alone. At its July peak the game had registered something on the order of 45 million people and while those numbers have fallen, it is still estimated to have around 30 million registered users.

download-113The arguments about the augmented reality app have been relatively hysterical (and not always in the ha ha sense), ranging from blaming it for car crash fatalities to claims of major fitness recoveries through a renewed interest in walking. And while the game probably won’t either kill or save you, there’s no denying that many people thoroughly enjoy playing.

Not only has this fascination has led to an uptick in Pokémon-themed merchandise, including Pikachu tattoos, but it has led to the development of a number of innovative game playing support devices. One of these is a 3D printed phone case, somewhat more complex than a similar design we saw last month, that is designed to help you throw those pesky Pokéballs in a straight line so that you don’t waste your precious resources throwing them over the shoulders of the creatures you are trying to capture.

Image courtesy of 3D Central

[Image: 3D Central]

The case, designed and produced by 3D Central, went up for sale on August 12th and the orders just keep rolling in. The co-owner of 3D Central, Chris Caswell, was inspired to create the case after watching his brother play the game. The case itself is designed to look like a Pokédex, the digital encyclopedia of Pokémon featured in the game and on the animated series, and has a central channel to help players keep a steady finger during the throw. In addition, the case has a hinged cover that stays shut using magnets to help protect your phone (even if you drop it during a heated battle). The 3D Central team remixed a design they saw on Thingiverse, adding a few features. The case has effectively gone viral for 3D Central, with more than 6 million views on their Facebook page.

3D Central’s other co-owner Ian Sole described their creation and the buzz it’s causing:

“It’s a device that helps people play these games…it’s really quite amazing, but that’s what 3D printing is all about. We’re excited to be able to release this to the public. We’ve had an unbelievable response…the phone is ringing off the hook.”

At $45 to $55 per case, depending on phone model, it may seem like an indication of how much money we have to waste on things like games, and I’m a notorious cheapskate with a great deal more time than money, so I probably won’t be getting one of these anytime soon. However, beyond removing what is nearly the only mildly challenging thing about this game, it’s possible that this case might help keep people playing and for some there really are desperately needed health benefits from the walking required.

Image courtesy of 3D Central

[Image: 3D Central]

In addition, the guide might assist those with trembling hands or with fine motor disorders to participate in the game that their friends are playing. Given that one of the benefits of this game is the creation of social interactions in public spaces that don’t require shopping, something particularly absent in the United States, widening the circle of those who can play to people who may be otherwise isolated or have restricted access is not something to be taken lightly.

The case, 3D printed in ABS, is available online or at the brick and mortar retail location of 3D Central in Richmond, Virginia and custom cases can be created for those whose phones don’t fit the models available. 3D Central has also just this week released the design files on Thingiverse if you want to 3D print your own, made for your phone’s dimensions, noting:

“We decided the best (and most efficient!) way to address this [demand] was to create a brand new parametric model, one that could be remixed easily to create any kind of phone case with just a few tweaks! Using Thingiverse’s Customizer, you can input your phone’s dimensions and features, and the case will print perfect just for you!”

Discuss further in the 3D Printed Pokémon Phone Case forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Source: Richmond Magazine]

 

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