3D Printing ProcessesElectronicsToys & Games

3D Printed Toys Get Smarter On Tio’s Kickstarter Campaign

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One thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that 3D printing, as a stand alone process – is no longer enough to drive enthusiasm and sales. That is why more and more creators are using it as part of a personal, digital manufacturing process that is empowering anyone to make finished, functional objects. Lauching on Kickstarter, Tio is doing this for 3d printed toys

Tio is a new technology that allows anyone with no technical expertise to turn 3D prints into app-controlled toys and machines in minutes. To make its way onto the market Tio has just launched a supercharged Kickstarter campaign with dozens of photos, gif’s and videos that can help everyone understand what it wants to offer.

With this technology, there is no the need for wires, soldering, any knowledge of electronics nor engineering. Tio has already been used by adults and children to create fully-wireless moving 3D printed toys and machines.

The technology is built around magnetic ‘blocks’ with built-in LEDs and accessories that can automatically attach to 3d prints, everyday objects and materials. It allows children and adults to transform anything – from drink bottles and legos to 3D prints and gadgets – into moving toys and machines that can be controlled with a smartphone or tablet. Children can also program their toys to record and repeat sequences of movements and colours – such as moving wings at a certain pace or lifting and carrying nearby objects from one room to another – to showcase their skills to friends and family.


The technology is supported by teachers and EarlyArts, the national network of childhood educators. Industry leaders from Microsoft and Tata said that Tio “could really contribute to enthusing young people about engineering and be a thoroughly enjoyable part of the STEM experience.” 

Tio was inspired by Peter’s childhood. He vividly remembers building toys with his grandpa and thinking… what if there was a magical engine to make any of my toys move? The Tio kit includes motorised building blocks with built-in LEDs, magnetic mounts, sticky tabs, colourful wheels, interchangeable accessories, stickers and a personalised storybook. It comes with nine pop and fold invention templates to get started before exploring different materials.


The storybook is full of friendly characters who introduce you to imaginary worlds and guide you through your first creations in simple steps. The free iOS/Android app communicates wirelessly with your creations to customise and program them. It controls many features like motor speed and direction as well as LED colours, rotation and patterns. With simple taps on the app, the programming mode allows creators to record and play back live actions including colour patterns and movements. Coding is possible but not required making this mode like the rest of the app accessible to all.

As a Tio inventor, you also get access to Tio’s safe online community to find inspiration, join challenges, unlock badges, download templates, stories and much much more. You can start sharing your first invention ideas, mock-ups and drawings. Tio encourages creative play and sparks invention by combining the feeling of creating with your hands, the latest technology and the ease of use of traditional toys. 

For children Tio can be a fun and engaging kit to animate their world. For parents it is a creative and inventive platform to help children’s development of cognitive and physical skills whilst having fun. Makers, creatives and techies can use it as a powerful invention tool to quickly and easily bring ideas to life. For teachers, finally, it is a new way to combine craft and tech to invent, play and learn together. There can be a personalized Tio toy to cater to every specific requirement, isn’t that what 3D printing is all about?


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3D Printing Media Network is the online trade media portal published by 3dpbm, a leading marketing and market research firm specializing in the AM industry. 3dpbm also publishes the 3D Printing Business Directory, the AM Focus eBook series and the 3dpbm Research AM Market Reports. 3D Printing Media Network was founded with the goal to provide the latest industry news, insights and opinions to a global audience of professionals and decision makers.

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