The ModiBots, a line of poseable action figures which can be outfitted with all sorts of accessories, sell for around US$15 apiece, which isn't much more than what you'd expect to pay for any other toy at retail. The difference is that these aren't being churned out in massive quantities by a major manufacturer – they're available for purchase online via Shapeways' 3D print-on-demand service. It's an example of how entrepreneurs are taking advantage of 3D printing technology to build new businesses.
Toy-maker Mattel is releasing a range of action figures that incorporate augmented reality technology, based on characters from the Avatar movie hitting our screens around Christmas. The toys, to be launched in October, ‘come alive’ on your home computer when scanned on a webcam. Each action figure in the range has a unique 3-D web tag (i-TAG) which, when scanned, reveals special content onscreen. The animated 3-D models will show off “engaging, evading or defending moves”, says Mattel. And when two i-TAGs from the same Battle Pack are scanned together, the 3-D characters will interact on-screen.