Amazon announced a new product they call “Made For You”, and it could lead to astounding changes in the 3D print industry and consumer market.
A report on Fast Company describes the process of using Made For You, which has the goal of producing a custom-sized T-shirt for you.
Most “custom” T-shirt services today involve selection of color, pattern and size. Sometimes you get to choose the material weight, but not always. But in each of these services you’re not choosing the fit; you choose only the size, which is an approximation of fit.
That is changing with Made For You. According to Fast Company’s Elizabeth Segran:
“It took me five minutes to design a pink, long-sleeved cotton T-shirt. The process began with creating a virtual body double, which involves inputting details—such as my height, weight, and skin tone—then taking two photos on my phone using the 3D body scanner in the app.”
This is terrific news for those requiring perfectly-fitting T-shirts, but I think there is much more to the story here.
Amazon has set up this app, but has likely set it up in such a way as to have processing infrastructure for more types of custom products.
This has long been the dream of many in 3D printing: the ability for consumers to custom-produce personalized products at the touch of a button. Customized products of this type are feasible to produce only on 3D printers, and thus more use of the technology would occur.
There have been multiple attempts to do this, with several startups involved. One I saw many years ago was Digital Forming, but that company no longer seems active. My thoughts in the past have been that while startups could easily create the necessary infrastructure for performing mass customization for consumers, it wouldn’t really take off until a big player like Amazon adopted it. Amazon did play for a while with the concept in a partnership with 3DLT, but alas, that company is also defunct.
And so, we now have Amazon creating this technology.
If Amazon finds the concept successful, we could find them adding more products to customizable status beyond mere T-shirts. Certainly fashion items would be possible, like dresses, pants and so on, but there could be 3D printable items added as well.
I can easily imagine shoes and sandals fitting (pun intended) into this mode. Jewelry may also be a possibility. There’s also a distant future possibility of literally 3D printing clothing directly, something that researchers have been working on using flexible materials.
Now imagine an Amazon where this type of customization is commonplace. From there it’s only a small step to just-in-time production of all kinds of mechanical items. Dishwasher knobs, doorstops, light switch plates and much more could become customizable. The possibilities are endless, and could be fueled by integrating the design capabilities of artists.
It’s only T-shirts for now, but I am wondering where this may head in the future.
Via Fast Company