In our weekly series on crowdfunding projects, we look at the best new pitches on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to find the ideas that can make a difference. Some of the most exciting new gadgets, like the Pebble smartwatch and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset came to be thanks to Kickstarter, and that's why we're watching these sites for the next big thing.
One area which is definitely extremely exciting is the world of 3D printing - it's an area that is steadily developing, but we're particularly excited about one Kickstarter project, the Printeer,because it wants to take 3D printing out of labs and into schools.
ThePrinteer was made with the express purpose of making 3D printing as easy and accessible as possible for the widest number of people. Instead of needing to learn CAD skills, it is operatedwith a companion iPad app that lets you use simple touch controls to make shapes. There are no configuration settings, and no complex software, instead, you just pair the iPad and the Printeer, and press print.
That's the idea anyway.
The Printeer is being made byMission Street Manufacturing, a California based startup, and the goal is not to make a high-end, highly precise printer, but a small and basictool that can make uncomplicated designs.
At 16-inches by 9-inches, with a height of one foot, the Printeer isn't very big. The print bed is obviously even smaller, and measures 6-inches wide, 4-inches deep and 5-inches tall.
With a capacity of 0.45kg of 1.75mm filament, this is a compact little printer, this isn't meant as adevice for professionals who want precision results. Instead, it is meant for children, and could be used in the house, or in a school or library, or a museum setting.
This is driven home by its design, which features transparent sides, coloured gears and other parts, all ofwhich combine to make it look more like a child's toy than a complex machine. The price is a little high - backers will have to give $549 (roughly Rs. 32,500) fora printer, compared to the Micro which was also funded on Kickstarter, whose creators asked for $299. However, the Printeer is larger, and the transparent design and simpler operation viaapp might make it the more appealing choice, for schools and other buyers.
The team has partnered with local schools in California tobring the Printeer for in classroom demos, and in the video, you can see how easy it is for kids to make use of this technology. While this might not compare to some of the more interesting developments we see inthe field of 3D printing today, helping children become comfortable with an entirely new kind of technology makes the Printeer a very relevant project.
The project, which started on June 10, will be accepting funding until July 10. To learn more, take a look at its video below:
To see our other picks from crowdfunded projects, click here.