Innovation That Matters

Vending machines deliver 3D-printed goods designed by the consumer


Dreambox enables users to design an object and pick it up from an automated booth once it's ready.

3D printers already promise to help anybody to design and create almost anything, and we’re already seeing products such as the 3Doodler which are making the process even easier. Dreambox is now applying a vending machine service to the technology, enabling users to design an object and pick it up from an automated booth once it’s ready. While Virginia Tech has created a similar device for design students to use in workshops, the California-based team behind the Dreambox has launched the first machine for public use. Customers first head to the Dreambox website to choose from the inventory of pre-made digital designs, or upload their own creations. After requesting a print, the files are sent to local wifi-enabled vending machines equipped with four 3D printers and the object is created. An SMS message is sent to the consumer containing an unlock code for them to retrieve their item once it’s printed. Use of the system will cost between USD 2 and USD 15 per object, depending on the complexity of the print. Customers can either order and pay for the print on their own computer, or through the tablet-based interface on the machine itself. Dreambox has already been setup for trial at University of California Berkley and the team hope to create a larger network of the devices. Vending machines have been useful for allowing consumers to purchase particular items on the go, and – combined with 3D printing – the Dreambox now lets them create anything they want on the fly. How else can 3D printing be made even more accessible? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel



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