According to the Cassandra Report from winter/spring 2013, 41% of tween girls would rather make something themselves than buy it. In the same report, 59% of tweens want a customized product. Though the report concentrates solely on Generation Z – or, individuals currently under the age of 16 – it clearly points to how the coming generation will approach the physical objects, digital and otherwise, that surround them. “I don’t think in the next five years we’ll see everybody have a 3D printer at home like they have a computer at home,” says Michael Weinberg at Public Knowledge. “There are a lot of barriers, but I think we will see a situation where many people have reasonably easy access to a 3D printer, whether that is one around the corner or virtually around the corner.”
In a trend from our Future of Home Living report we’re calling Make It Yourself, PSFK Labs examines how a new range of DIY kits and technologies are making the process of envisioning and producing custom products and designs accessible to anyone, regardless of space or skills. Whether constructed by hand or printed on demand, these projects and tools are changing what’s possible, while redefining people’s relationship to the things they own.
Printrbot is a desktop 3D printer that can be assembled in a few hours. The all-in-one 3D printer uses fused deposition modeling to produce plastic models of 3D objects. Users input a design on their computer, and the printer deposits layer upon layer of material until it replicates the object in its entirety. The device is aimed at beginner home users through its small size and simple interface, enabling users to make just about anything they like, from iPad stands to home fixtures and jewelry. The units, which range in size, retail for $299 and up.
London-based community workshop and DIY retailer Technology Will Save Us has designed a number of at-home instructional kits that walk users through the basics of using Arduino, an open-source electronic prototyping platform for creating interactive electronic objects, in a hands-on way. The project-focused kits include a selection of the most common and useful electronic components, which can be used to build fun DIY objects like speakers and light-up sunglasses. Accompanying instruction manuals walk users through the basics of electronics, helping users to better control the physical world using sensors and actuators and eventually opening the door to more complex projects. Once users have mastered the knowledge, they’ll have a palette of software and circuits that can be used to create something unique.
Technologies like Printrbot and the Arduino hardware from Technology Will Save Us fall under a larger theme we’re calling On Demand, which points to networks and systems are growing to help city residents enjoy their lives on their terms and at the speed they want.
PSFK has announced the latest in a series of trend reports. Following studies into retail, social media, gaming, work and mobile, the PSFK Labs consulting team have generated the Future of Home Living report. That report manifests as a free summary presentation, an in-depth downloadable PDF and an exhibition in New York City that runs to August 16.
RSVP below to take a tour of the exhibition at 101W15th.