Put a Kap on That Glass: 3D Printing Privacy

Posted by in Industrial design

After surreptitiously 3D scanning a museum artifact with Google Glass Todd Blatt is now playing the devil’s advocate by providing a 3D printed cap to cover the lens of Google Glass and ensure the privacy of those around the wearer.

3D Print Google Glass GlassKap Shapeways

The GlassKap Kickstarter campaign is a range of accessories for Google Glass to either give those around the wearer privacy, or make explicit that the glass is ‘On Air’ and may be recording or even streaming what the wearer is currently seeing.

Along with the GlassKap, the product range also includes a few less functional and more fun items such as a wearable planter, pencil holder and laser sight.  Although this is a playful response to the privacy issues surrounding google glass, it is also indicative of what is possible with 3D printing, to embed smart devices into almost any 3D printed product.  Glass is starting to become a recognizable form that may indicate that you are being filmed, but what if someone were to 3D print a new housing and place the tell-tale form behind a polaroid lens.  

Shapeways 3D Print Google Glass

You can support the Kickstarter campaign for as little as $1 and for as little as $20 you can put a Kap on that Glass.


  1. Gabriel Gullbergh

    Awesome idea. However, one thing I’ve wondered about kickstarter projects for ideas that have already been produced. Especially when used with shapeways, where there is no need for an inventory or the idea of pre-orders to predict inventory size. What is the funding for if it already exists, reimbursement for time? Doesn’t that take place naturally if the product is successful?

    1. Todd Blatt

      Thanks for the comment, Gabriel.

      What you see in the video are mostly just the first or second prototypes, and are not 100% completed. The planter and the optigrab, for instance, are MakerBot prints, and have not yet been tested through Shapeways. There are some tweaks I need to make for the designs to get them ready for production. Some of the accessories are already perfect, and some things could fit better than they do.

      If the project gets funded successfully, I’ll put in the extra time to make sure each one fits perfectly.

    2. Glenn

      Understandable responses, Todd, if you are ONLY going to sell these directly and never allow purchases through Shapeways; you’re certainly allowed to do whatever you wish. I think what Gabriel is getting at is something that I’ve wondered myself in the past; the whole point of a company like Shapeways is to allow customers to buy items direct, thus potentially saving them money. Sure, we could all get a Kickstarter going to fund more development, but most of us do that with no compensation anyway.

      You could have done what most of us do and sell direct through Shapeways making the items less costly for your customers; after all, you have to incur extra costs in material and time for packing and shipping which you then have to pass on to customers.

      If I make a silver pendant and sell it on Etsy I either have to take it off Shapeways or artificially inflate the price on Shapeways to match that of the Etsy one.

      I’m afraid I see Kickstarter being used more and more as mere advertising and promotion rather than a genuine effort to raise funds to mass produce items that would be too costly via 3D Printing…

      Of course, if you do intend to otherwise mass produce these then forget what I just said!

  2. Todd Blatt

    I have to respectfully disagree with you Glenn. I do not view the point of Shapeways to be a place where people can save money buying products by cutting out a distributor. I see Shapeways as a community, and a service for creating things which could not be made other ways. I see Shapeways as a place where people can buy unique objects which wouldn’t exist if 3d printing weren’t around. Certain things are here because they can’t easily be produced via other methods, or would not exist because there isn’t a big enough market. I don’t view this place as just a discount shop.

    I don’t see why you do have the need to remove your shapeways listings just because you also sell it on Etsy. I don’t have the same price on both sites. My Etsy products are all listed as higher than my Shapeways ones. I do this because it’s way easier when someone buys things from me on Shapeways. Also, Etsy has more foot traffic, so there’s that added value.

    As the Shapeways marketplace grows, I think that your Etsy pricing point might make more sense in the future, but now I don’t think that many people are price comparing. I sell far more on Etsy than I do on Shapeways, and my prices there are higher. Shapeways will need to start adding the earring hooks and necklaces back onto the printed models like they used to though. I do plan on selling the 3d printed GlassKap accessories after the campaign, both on my site and on Shapeways.

    I made a choice to do the Kickstarter campaign for a few reasons. First of all, I’ve never done one before. I’ve done limit runs in the replica prop world, where I take orders up front, produce a limited quantity of a prop, and distribute them to my customers, but it’s always much more informal. More of a sign-up list with a deposit, and then a limited quantity after the sign-up is full. It’s quite common on therpf.com to do projects this way. Running a Kickstarter campaign is a lot of work. I attempted to do one back in February/March for my Tickle-me-Elmo in Carbonite project but I quickly learned how much effort goes in to making the nice webpage, video, and write-up.

    A lot of effort goes into promotion as well. Just because you put up a campaign doesn’t mean that you get funding. You have to do a lot of PR work to get attention. Only about 25% of my pledges have come from people searching or browsing on Kickstarter. More than two thirds are from people I know; friends and family. The general misconception that folks have is that when you put up a Kickstarter, traffic (followed by money) just flows to your page. It’s really not the case. Now that I have this successfully funded campaign under my belt, there’s still more work to do! In a week I’ll be learning how to do order fulfillment through a Kickstarter campaign, as opposed to my previous experience of email and forum messages, Google docs surveys, etc. Putting in all of this work provided me with a nice landing page for me to use when I did my outreach.

    I used the campaign to see if I should even go ahead with the project. If a creator is unsure if his or her designs will sell, then they should do some sort of research before putting in the work. I created the minimum viable product for each of the designs to show as proof of concept, and then raised funding to see if people would want them. After seeing that there is enough demand, I’ve begun to put in the extra work to make these prototypes into products. Just because other people on Shapeways don’t do it that way doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t. The plan is not to mass produce them because I don’t think there is such a large demand. If there were, I’d be seeking 10x this amount to fund the tooling for injection molding. My target market is very small and I was testing the waters.

  3. Glenn Slingsby

    Yep, all fair points, Todd. I’m not knocking you for trying. Whatever works. You say you sell more on Etsy than Shapeways. For me it’s the exact opposite. If your prices on Etsy are a little higher I fully understand the reason why, but as far as I’m concerned the number one thing I learned as an artist (painter/photographer) is that you NEVER sell similar paintings or prints yourself for LESS than your representing gallery sells them – that’s one sure way to alienate the gallery and quickly end the relationship. Similarly, if a client buys a print in a gallery and pays double what you offer them direct you’ve now make a client very angry.

    Anyway, good luck in your endeavors… I know marketing and advertising sucks (I used to work in advertising, too!).

Comments are closed.