Multinational 3D design company Autodesk, and Mattel, the makers of Barbie, have teamed up to enable kids to design and make their own toys.
The companies will release a number of 3D design and printing apps which kids can use to create their dream toys.
“One of the best ways for children to learn is through play. Through this collaboration we can engage kids in design thinking and fuel their creativity with digital tools and toys that fit effortlessly into their everyday lives,” Autodesk senior education manager Brenton Wyett said.
The companies haven’t revealed which toy lines kids will be able to customise. But did say the first in a series of new apps is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2015 along with a dedicated online hub for Mattel’s 3D printing initiatives.
Autodesk has been one tech outfit which rode the mining investment boom all the way from Silicon Valley to Australia and then back to China.
Watching manufacturing contract in Australia and mining investment drop off the cliff, the company’s Asia Pacific MD Pat Williams told Business Insider Tony Abbott’s plan to build infrastructure has buoyed that part of its local Australian operations.
“We refer to him as Mr Infrastructure,” he said.
The company, which has divided its operations between infrastructure, construction, manufacturing, mining and media, has a keen eye on what’s happening in global markets and sees it flow straight through to its bottom line.
“Here in Australia, it hasn’t been good for manufacturing,” Autodesk APAC sales director Rob Malkin said.
But he holds out hope for the industry in Australia with the emergence of 3D printing technology lowering the cost of production for auto-parts manufacturers.
“The industry needs to focus on things where you can add value – leave the mass manufacturing to places like China,” he said.
Pointing to examples in Detroit and Japan, the execs said with Australia’s pool of engineers there was an opportunity to build out a strong smart tech and green tech sector.
And now, the fall of the Aussie dollar has bolstered its media and entertainment design business, Malkin said.
Companies like Animal Logic, an Autodesk customer, have scored additional animation work in big blockbuster films because the currency fluctuation has made it more competitive, especially on the cost of labour.