There Are More Software Engineers Than Hardware At AIO Robotics, And It Shows

The AIO Robotics ZEUS desktop 3D printer seems to have far greater software powers than other devices. 

It’s very hard for a desktop 3D printer to distinguish itself among competitors recently, as there have been so many market entrants, each offering more or less the same style of physical technology. 

So what’s a 3D printer manufacturer to do? Software, in the case of AIO Robotics. 

The California-based 3D printer manufacturer, we’re told, has more software engineers than hardware engineers. This capability has resulted in a startlingly powerful software element in their ZEUS desktop 3D printer. 

It starts with the large touch screen menu shown at top. Yes, you can 3D scan or 3D print objects, but notice the two extra options: SEARCH and APPS.

While you can do the normal operations one might expect on a 3D printer, you can also directly search for 3D models stored on popular repositories, such as Thingiverse, shown here. 

These 3D models can be directly downloaded into the printer for printing. However, you might want to adjust their size or position, which can also be performed directly on the printer itself from the touch screen. You can also load multiple 3D models and perform boolean operations on them. 

For simple download and print workflows, this capability eliminates the need for any desktop processing! 

Apps are an extremely interesting concept. Essentially, these are small programs that can run on the ZEUS directly to modify or generate 3D models. 

In the sample screen here, you can see some of the apps that AIO is working on, such as an iPhone case generator. It allows you to punch in a name or word, which will be embedded on the case when printed. The Key Wizard uses both operations available on the ZEUS: a key can be 3D scanned and then a replica is 3D printed. There are several other apps available, but you get the idea: apps are limited only by your imagination. 

And in perhaps the most amazing app, the ZEUS is automatically equipped with a prosthetic hand generator! You merely need to specify the size and it will automatically print out a replacement hand, to the relief of many parents with amputee children who frequently require resized prosthetics for their growing children. 

AIO Robotics is not charging for apps yet, but may do so in the future, particularly when they open up their “app store” to third party developers, who no doubt will wish to be compensated for their efforts. They’re working on a system development kit that will enable programmers to make their own apps. One can only imagine the kinds of apps that might appear once this happens. 

We’re told AIO Robotics is waiting to finish up a few more apps before unleashing this on their user base. Yes, that’s correct - they will update all their machines via cloud services to have this content! 

In the case of AIO Robotics, the method of differentiating from their competitors is obvious: Software, and lots of it. 

Via AIO Robotics

General Fabb

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has been writing Fabbaloo posts since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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