Shapeways, The Community

Designing all for one, one for all

A guest post by John Briscella:

Streets Clocks

Interactive Product Design, Mass customization, Co-creation, Online Design Tools… call it what you will, but there is rising interest in designs made for and “by” the individual. Applications and their intuitive interfaces are increasingly making it possible for costumers to become the designers. At shapeways, We would like to introduce some interesting projects currently exemplifying these design principles with the intention to give an insight on future intentions for designers.

Innovation of industry in the 19th century was the interchangeable part, which lead to 20th century mass production. Thus, 21st century innovation and beyond realizes on interactive production. In the distant past, a designer would craft their object under their patron’s specifications. Each design would take a large amount of labor and produce a small number of products. Mass productions later changed the designer’s role to solely designing an object, producing a large amount, and distributing it through shops for the public. Today, you can still find these systems battling each other, yet, the designer’s role has evolved. The designer is no longer a designer but a communicator between the individual and the product. We inform the customer directly with a series of design decisions possible in altering the final output. The final product is delivered directly from the production facility.

Shapeways offer an array of Co-Creation Design Tools such as:
LightPoem, Photoshaper, Cufflinks, and Stylus… just to name a few. The interface is simple. The customers have a special attachment to the objects. And a sense of emotion relationship with the design invokes pride and gratification when your able to say “I made this… for you… to remember that special moment of ours…”

Following are a few projects that touch on these same points.

F-cut by FREITAG

Mass Customization is nothing new. In 2002, Freitag launched F-cut, an application that allows its users to select different areas of a recycled truck tarpaulin to create unique patterns for their bags. Drop and Rotate a cutout template onto the tarp and instantly preview your final design.

Earth Collection by Fluid Forms

Fluid Forms started in 2005. By using data sets of map information, Fluid Forms creates jewelry with topological maps. As simple as using google maps, navigate to your favorite location and instantly preview the final product. The product is 3d printed and casted in silver.

Fluid Vase by SupaBold

To create a vase, experiment with fluid dynamics and physics to choose a moment of the beautiful phenomenon. The software introduces a movie timeline to negotiate the choice of your final design. The vases are 3D printed.

Cell Cycle by Nervous Systems

Nervous Systems started in 2007 with the intention of creating products embedded with structures found in nature. The Cell cycle applet generates a pattern based off interaction of specific variables and physical inputs. The bracelets are 3D printed.

Xylem by Federico Weber

As Federico Weber’s 2009 thesis, the application takes design to the next step. The chair and table series parametrically alters the form and dimensions. By combining different automated manufacturing processes, assembly is standardized yet the outcome is dramatically different. Each set can have custom dimensions based of the individuals style, height, and preferences.

What do these products have in common?
Made-on-Demand. Each product is made after the design has been ordered. Though the objects may sell in shops without using the interface, once a customer learns that they can make their own, they want to experiment.

Whats Next?
Shapeways offer an interface for interfacing with co-created products. Allowing our community of designers to setup choices available to inform the customer to alter the design.

A big thanks to John Briscella for taking the time to give an overview on some Interactive Product Design/Mass customization/ Co-creation/Online Design, Check out his blog for more cool and customizable design and his Coroflot portfolio to see some of his very impressive work.

About me
Shapeways Designer Evangelist
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