When Wayne Losey left his job with a big corporate toy company, he had a dream to bring the kind of toys that he loved as a kid to market. Wayne wanted to combine the fun and adventure of action figures with the customizability of Legos. He realized that 3D printing could be used to help him make these toys a reality. Using Shapeways as his manufacturer and sales platform, Wayne created Modibot, a customizable, robot-inspired action figure. After a successful Kickstarter took Modibot to the next level, Wayne teamed up with a group of Icelandic software developers who were working on an app to create customizable toys like Modibot, and Modio was created. If you attended Maker Faire Bay Area or World Maker Faire last year you may have run into Wayne or some other members of the Modio team.
This week, Autodesk and Modio have announced that Modio has been purchased by Autodesk, and they have released a new app called Tinkerplay. Like Modio, Tinkerplay allows users to create their own action figures by combining different body parts into an incredible variety of creations. These creations can then be downloaded and printed on a desktop 3D printer to build the toy in the real world. This time around, users can now see what their creations look like in virtual environments like outer space or the desert. The team is also working hard to add more gender diversity to the app with models like mermaids instead of just the classic robots. Tinkerplay is available now for iPad, Android, and Windows Mobile.
This is another great example of how 3D printing enables ideas to become reality, and I look forward to seeing what Wayne and his team bring us next now that they have the backing of Autodesk behind them.