3D printing gives clients a true sense of the finished product in this marriage of fashion and technology
A recent analysis by ResearchMoz, as quoted by Geektime, predicts that, “The global Wearable Technology Market…is expected to reach USD 5.8 billion in 2018…” To keep up with this rapidly growing field, wearable technology designers are looking to 3D printing to complement their R&D process. The ability of a designer to show a client a tangible prototype is especially valuable for wearable tech. When something is worn, the weight, texture and feel of the product are keys to its success.
Recently, the design consultancy firm zero360 worked with Industrial Plastic Fabrications Ltd (IPF) to prototype a wristband that senses the wearer’s “biosigns,” such as heart rate. The prototype was 3D printed on an Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer by Stratasys, allowing the designers to choose from 10 color palettes, each of which can be mixed to produce 46 different colors.
In a recent interview with TCT Magazine, Luke Guttery, Director of Product Design at zero360, said: "Comfort is a really important factor in sustained engagement, so being able to rapid prototype these is a key part of the development process. Also, the Objet Connex' flexible material is very durable and is as good as casting, which is a massive plus, as it's quicker to produce."
According to Gary Miller of IPF, a UK based service bureau, it takes just a few hours to 3D print one of zero360’s wristbands. Using the Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer, a single print run can include 46 colors and multiple materials, allowing for different multi-material design variations to be prototyped at once.
In addition to saving time, 3D printing the prototype is cost effective. Guttery estimates the cost of creating the prototype using 3D printing is 85% less than conventional casting methods.
With the fashion and technology industries overlapping in the field of wearable tech, we expect to see more companies using 3D printing to give their clients a true sense of the finished product.
This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)