A new product combines 3D printing and augmented reality, making it easy for even novices to design and print 3D products
Learning how to design and print in 3D usually requires the ability to get to grips with complex hardware and software. Now, a new device aims to make designing and printing as easy as waving a wand. The Yeehaw Wand is an augmented reality (AR) tool that looks something like a colourful spoon. To use it, users connect the wand to an app on their phone or tablet, hold the wand in front of the camera, and use it to draw whatever they want or hint over objects in the real world. The drawing will appear on the screen, and can then be printed on a 3D printer, or sent to Yeehaw or a local service for printing.
Yeehaw is currently raising funds on Kickstarter. This is Yeehaw’s second crowdfunding campaign, the first was the company’s 2016 introduction of a child-friendly, affordable 3D printer. Yeehaw CEO Paul Wang explains the inspiration for the wand, “During our campaign for the Yeehaw 3D printer last year, we found that a lot of users were really interested in this new technology, but didn’t have the skills to build their own models.” The printer and wand are available as a package in the new campaign, and designs created with the Yeehaw Wand can be sent directly to the 3D printer. The Yeehaw also comes with a spinning plate that works like an AR pottery wheel to allow users to rotate objects in real-time. The app allows 2D multi-touch screen gestures, scaling, 2D fixed-plane boundary and mirror image strokes. The company is also building an open API for outside developers, to allow then to integrate their own apps and services into the device.
One advantage of creating 3D images in AR is that it allows the 3D items to be customized to the real world, for example, allowing jewellery to be designed by drawing it onto a real person. Yeehaw’s Kickstarter campaign runs until January 14, and is already fully funded. We have already seen 3D printing take off with innovations such as recyclable printed furniture and a method for 3D printing glass. Now, will Yeehow’s user-friendly wand allow almost anyone to 3D print almost anything?