A toy replicator for kids!

Mattel is bringing back an old toy, Thingmaker, but the new version will be a 3D printer for kids.

After wirelessly linking the 3D printer to a mobile device running the ThingMaker Design App for iOS or Android, users decide whether they want to create a toy figure or jewelry, with the option to print ready-designed toys, or mix and match from hundreds of parts which can be popped together after printing thanks to ball and socket joints. After designing their creation, users simply push a button to start printing.

Features of the ThingMaker 3D printer which make it more suitable for children than your typical 3D printer include it being simple to use, and having an auto-locking door. This will stay shut until your toy is at a safe temperature and the hot print head has retracted into a recess, so that it can’t burn eager little fingers.

Simplicity is applicable to adults as well. This gives us a hint where all 3D printing is heading.

And though the article describes as a negative the fact that it will routinely take 12 hours for each toy to print, I consider this irrelevant. I would have loved to have this thing as a kid, and would have gladly tried out a new design each day, just for fun. The toys themselves are what is irrelevant, not the creation process.

The disappearance of the old-fashioned chemistry set.

The disappearance of the old-fashioned chemistry set.

Here’s what it used to be like, when we lived in a free society:

By the 1920s and 30s children had access to substances which would raise eyebrows in today’s more safety-conscious times. There were toxic ingredients in pesticides, as well as chemicals now used in bombs or considered likely to increase the risk of cancer. And most parents will not need to be told of the dangers of the sodium cyanide found in the interwar kits or the uranium dust present in the “nuclear” kits of the 1950s.

A toy company has designed building blocks that make it possible to combine multiple brands, from Legos to Tinkertoys.

A toy company has designed building blocks that make it possible to combine multiple building block brands, from Legos to Tinkertoys.

By downloading free designs and using a 3D printer, you could have your very own pieces to connect ten different brands of building toys to each other and construct even more elaborate contraptions and structures.

As the first commenter on the webpage noted, “This is the next singularity.”