Oct. 5 - London's MakieLab toy company allows customers to turn digital designs into real-life 'action dolls' through 3D printing. Wired editor Chris Anderson says the increasing accessibility of fabrication tools will inspire a new digital revolution. Matt Cowan reports.
A new one of a kind doll, made and assembled in England. It's the work of a new London-based toy company called MakieLab which uses 3D printing technology to turn digital designs into physical form. This transformation from avatar to action doll is made possible by a process known as 3D printing. Alice Taylor is the co-founder and CEO of MakieLab SOUNDBITE: Alice Taylor, MakieLab co-founder saying (English): "The thought of setting up a factory I think now is pretty daunting, whereas for us we were like 'hang on a minute. our factory is a room full of 3D printers. We get that. We can do that." SOUNDBITE: Matt Cowan, Reuters Technology Correspondent, saying (English): "MakieLab's dolls are made here on Wimpole street in central London, in an area better known for its dental clinics. In fact it was in one of the practices that the 3D printing business Didgets 2 Widgets got its start." SOUNDBITE: Jonathan Rowley, Design Director, saying (English): "What we have here is the latest range of MakieLab accessories which they're producing for Hallowe'en. It's a series of masks." This flexibility to produce an array of different designs all at once is just one of the chief advantages of 3D printing says design director John Rowley. SOUNDBITE: Jonathan Rowley, Design Director, saying (English): "You're not ordering things in from China and bringing them back into the country, they can be made locally in the UK." The potential of digital fabrication tools to inspire new forms of creativity and commerce is the subject of a new book called Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. Its author, Wired editor Chris Anderson sees the increasing accessibility of this technology as one of the key inflection points of the digital age. SOUNDBITE: Chris Anderson, Author of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, saying (English): "The first time you used a web browser - it was one of those moments, you sort of felt you were on the cusp of something big. The first time I uploaded a design to the web and got something back mass-produced, I'm just a regular guy with a credit card, that was one of those hair raising on the back of your neck moments. I felt that forces had come together and planets had aligned to create a third digital revolution and my job as a magazine editor and author is to tell that story and promote it." A desktop 3D printer called the Replicator 2 graces the cover of the latest edition of Wired next to the message 'This Machine Will Change The World'. SOUNDBITE: Chris Anderson, Author of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, saying (English): "Anytime you add the word desktop or personal to a technology, you do more than just change the technology. You put it in the hands of a different class of people. It is the democratization of technology that always changes the world." At 99 pounds - or roughly 160 dollars - these dolls are aimed at hobbyists and hackers rather than children. But Taylor says this is just the start. SOUNDBITE: Alice Taylor, MakieLab co-founder saying (English): "I would love to have a major impact on the toy industry. I hope so. I love the idea of creating a toy company in Shoreditch. I don't think dolls have been made in Shoreditch since Victorian times."