The reimagined ThingMaker pairs with an iOS and Android app that allows its users to first “sketch” out how the toy will appear before sending their rendering via Wi-Fi to the relatively low-cost printer. Toyland reports that the app will come pre-loaded with a few basic designs like rings, necklaces, dinosaurs, and skeletons, but kids and adults alike will be able to stretch their imaginations by creating new toys that combine different parts. In addition to a lesson in design thinking, there’s a bit of engineering involved — new parts will connect by way of basic ball-and-socket joints, so really, it’s as educational as it is fun.
“In today’s digital age, it’s more important than ever for families to transcend the digital world and make their ideas real,” said Aslan Appleman, senior director at Mattel, in a statement. “ThingMaker pushes the boundaries of imaginative play.”
Indeed, the ThingMaker encourages its users to dream bigger and bolder — printing processes can take anywhere from 30 minutes for a basic toy (or part to a larger structure), to between six and eight hours. In order to prevent children from injuring themselves during the printing process, the ThingMaker’s door will lock automatically when it’s in use, but to stoke the creative fires, the clear door will allow users to observe the entire process (if they have that kind of patience).
Sadly, you won’t be able to get your hands on one of these awesome toys (or rather, toy makers), until the fall, but pre-orders on Amazon opened up today. So don’t settle for the toys on the market — create your own with Mattel’s ThingMaker.