Thursday, January 17, 2013

2nd-Gen Cube Wins Kids At Play Award for Innovation!

One of the great things about having a 3D printer is that it enhances our abilities to achieve better designs through iteration... beginning with one design, analyzing it to see if it meets our goals and coming up with an even better design.

Well, apparently, 3D Systems has applied that same design philosophy to the Cube 3D printer.

And, the proof is in the form of a very cool award.  The KAPi Award for Innovation in Children's Media!

KAPi Award for Innovation in Children's Media

You can read the Cubify blog's post about the award here.

But, I would like to tell you why this Award is so meaningful to me.   And, I had NOTHING to do with their winning it!!!  LOL!

From the very first time the Cube was announced, it was clear that 3D Systems was aiming right at the home and families.  Children were at the center of the focus, right from the very beginning.  They talked about creating apps that were "Coloring Book Simple", which frankly, I chided them about at the time.  But, I knew what they were trying to get at and, in fact, HAVE introduced apps that meet the spirit of those early claims!  And, they not only work; but, they are very cool!

While I do get to talk to people at 3D Systems from time to time about specific topics or questions I am not at all privy to their deeply guarded secrets.  So, I was quite surprised by the introduction of the 2nd Generation of the Cube.  And, more than a little bit perplexed about dropping my beloved heated printing platform.  But, it all makes sense now.

The goal, all along, was a FAMILY FRIENDLY 3D printer.  And, ultimately, that meant completely "Kid Safe".  While the 1st Generation Cube was certainly safe enough.  It is obvious, now, that 3D Systems felt it could be made even MORE safe for children.  And, that is exactly what they have done.  By finding a way to adhere ABS to an unheated bed and adding a little more protection around the print jet head, they managed to do what no other 3D printer manufacturer has ever achieved... It's hidden in this short little sentence...
"The Cube meets all IEC 60950 Printer Safety Requirements, making it the only consumer 3D printer that is safe for at-home use by adults and children alike."
In just one design cycle after the original release of the Cube, the designers managed to achieve another first... being the ONLY 3D printer meeting the stringent safety requirements embodied in IEC 60950.  (And, in the process also managed to improve the performance!)

This is no trivial achievement.  To design for ultimate safety as well as fun is a major innovative accomplishment.  It means that I can go forward with even MORE confidence encouraging parents and teachers to bring the Cubify 3D printer into their homes and schools.  As a former teacher and present grandfather, this a HUGE deal for me!

Congratulations Cubify Design Team!


In researching the KAPi awards I came across this page that describes the process.  About 4am this morning I awoke with an "AHA!" moment.  It dawned on me that I had missed the significance of the timing of the way the process works.  The nomination for the Cube that won the award had to have been submitted by November 2012!  I THINK that means that while it was the 2nd Generation Cube at the Awards Ceremony, it was the 1st Generation Cube that the judges considered worthy of the Innovation in Children's Media award! It started life as the most innovative and only got better!  Now, THAT is cool!

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