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3D printing and robotics continue to converge at a steady rate. While 3D printing could be seen as a form of robotics in and of itself, the ability to use this technology to create customization options inevitably makes it the perfect technology for the creation of custom robots.

For those of you unfamiliar with a robot named Ollie, created by a company, Go Sphero, you should take a moment to meet this little fellow.

Ollie is a two-wheeled miniature robot which can reach speeds of 22km/h (~14 MPH), and is basically a hot potato on wheels. Ollie is capable on driving on just about any terrain imaginable, and isn’t just made for zipping around. This tiny robot, which is controlled by a smartphone can do tricks too. Some these entertaining tricks include spinning in place, pulling wheelies, and making turns faster than you can say, “Wow!”.

Now in collaboration with a company called Makers Empire, GoSphero has announced the release of their all new Ollie Customizer App, now available in the Apple app store and on Google Play. This app allows users to download it and then create customer hubcaps, and armour pieces for their Ollie robots.  They can then either download the STL file for $1.29, and 3D print the add-ons themselves, or send it off to have these custom options 3D printed through Makers Empire.

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For those of you who don’t have an Ollie, you can purchase one for just $99, instantly pair it with your smartphone and begin racing your friend or challenging them to trick competitions. For those designers out there, you don’t need an Ollie to design creative add-ons for this robot. In fact, you can download the app now and take part in design competitions, and if your design wins, you may just win an Ollie yourself.

“Our Customizer will reach deep within you, extract that one-of-a-kind uniqueness, and put it rolling around on display,” say Makers Empireollie2

While they claim the app is extremely easy to use, Jenni Ryall, of Mashable doesn’t seem to agree:

“Like other 3D design programs it is difficult to get your bearings on first use and some experience using 3D software wouldn’t go astray to assist with this, as there is no help menu or demo on the app. It is quite difficult to work out what each menu symbol means without an instruction guide, yet spending time with the otherwise quite basic program allows you to improve with each design.”

However, there is some good news. Makers Empire has told Mashable that a help menu and instructions will be available in a future release.

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What do you think about the use of 3D printing in creating new custom accessories for a product just launched a couple months ago. Discuss in the Ollie forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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