Technology that can turn dreams into plastic, fit you better than a tailor, and leave hidden messages in your breakfast.
From the Great Pyramids to the Empire State building, advances in design have been enabled by advances in technology. Today, as tech becomes ever more personal, apps and single run production allow creative professionals (and amateurs) to handily personalize an ever-expanding variety of items.
Have you ever wished you could make something that could leap from your imagination and into reality? That’s recently become an increasingly affordable proposition, as 3D printers like the Lulzbot Mini have come down in price substantially — putting them within the reach of many home hobbyists. Instead of using ink, these printers use a plastic filament heated by a nozzle, and then “prints” objects by building them one layer at a time. From coat hooks and bookends to piggy banks and soap dishes, the only real limit to what you can create is the size of the platform. There is also vibrant online community of fellow 3D printer owners who share all manner of item designs online that you can download and print for yourself. lulzbot.com
Melts in Your Hand
Put the technology that makes 3D printing possible in the palm of your hand with the 3Doodler. Draw creations freehand or add embellishments to existing objects. A recent display at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art included a ferris wheel, a miniature solar system and even a model of DNA created with the 3Doodler. The device comes in three versions — the Start for kids, the Create for consumers and the Pro for experienced hands — ranging from $49 to $249. the3doodler.com
Just My Size
Few possessions reflect our personal tastes more visibly than the clothes we wear, and yet so many of the choices we have to reflect that taste start by rounding to the closest size — like “medium” or “42 Long”. MTailor flips the script for you, so your wardrobe can adjust to fit you. Using the MTailor app and your smartphone’s built-in camera, MTailor can create a 3D model of your body and extrapolates full body measurements from those composite images.
Thus pants end up fitted to far more measurements than the waist and inseam sizes available off-the-rack. Their shirts alone use over 10 different size metrics, and according MTailor, such measurements are 20 percent more accurate than those obtained by a traditional tailor.
MTailor offers short and long-sleeved shirts, slacks, blazers, full suits and even jeans. Turnaround time is generally about 2 weeks (except for suits, which take five). Shipping is free and all purchases are returnable within 90 days. Prices range from $64 for dress shirts to $499 for suits. Download the free app from the Google Play Store or iTunes. mtailor.com
Stand by Your Brand
If you’ve ever worn an item with a logo on it that you didn’t fully stand behind, maybe it’s time to start making a mark of your own. At Cafe Press, clothing, bags, home decor, stationery — all of that becomes a blank canvas waiting to wear your name, catch phrase or favorite image. Put your dog’s face on a shower curtain; put your face on a hoodie for your dog. Producing single items like this has traditionally been prohibitively expensive, but Cafe Press’ methods allow for one-off, on-demand printing at prices more in line with mass produced items. Their online design studio offers a huge selection of templates to give you a headstart, and as a bonus, anything you create can be posted to their marketplace to sell to others. So if someone mentions how much they love that tote you personalized with a vacation snapshot, you can tell them how to order one of their very own. cafepress.com
If you’d guess that a “Fondoodler” sounds like a name for someone who dabbles in the culinary art of fondue — you wouldn’t be far off. It’s actually a product of BuzzFeed Labs that — for a mere $30 — will allow you to draw with cheese. Decorate crackers, chips, bread — anything that might be improved by a dose of dairy. Make nachos niftier and pizza prettier for party presentations that will look too good to eat (almost). fondoodler.com
At last, design has come to toast — a food so bland that it’s inspired clichés about blandness. But now, thanks to Toasteroid, you can better that banal bread. Use your smartphone to imprint toast with love notes, reminders, a picture to make someone smile; you can even make the daily weather forecast part of your breakfast. Toasteroid has just completed its crowdfunding stage and is estimating that its first backers will receive product in October of this year. There may be more practical, cheaper toasters out there, but nothing beats the this one for fun. toasteroid.com
Last modified: August 22, 2017