Consumer ProductsMass CustomizationWearables

IKEA and UNYQ reveal first custom 3D printed products for gamers

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Over the past year, furniture giant IKEA, 3D printed custom prosthetic company UNYQ and Sweden’s Area Academy have been working together to create a series of ergonomic products for the gaming community. Though it might not seem like the most physically extreme pass-time, gaming can lead to numerous health problems, including carpal tunnel, tennis elbow and more.

With an ever-growing community of gamers around the world, IKEA, UNYQ and Area Academy set out to design pieces that would improve the comfort of gamers while they play. Today, the partners have unveiled the first prototypes for the product range, entitled UPPKOPPLA.

“It’s true that we haven’t seen the full potential of this group earlier and we haven’t looked into their specific needs at home as much as we should,” said Michael Nikolic, Creative Leader at IKEA Sweden, about the gaming community. “There are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding gamers. In fact, it is a large group of people in all ages where gaming is even a full-time job for some.”

UNYQ IKEA gamer products
3D printed key caps (Photo: Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2019)

The partners combined their respective expertises to design the ergonomic gaming products: as a specialist in custom 3D printed prosthetics and wearables, UNYQ provided vital input, IKEA leveraged its extensive experience in furniture design and ergonomics, and Area Academy provided its in-depth knowledge about educational structures, programs and courses within e-sports.

The customizable UPPKOPPLA prototypes revealed today include a wristband, keycaps and a mouse bungee for improving gaming precision. The three 3D printed prototypes are personalized for individual gamers using a special app that captures biometrics and tailors the fit of the 3D printed products to the consumer.

UNYQ IKEA gamer products
3D printed mouse bungee (Photo: Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2019)

“By working with IKEA, we can explore new ways to leverage a concept we’ve been working with for years, as well as the technological process to implement it,” said Eythor Bender, CEO of UNYQ. “Understanding individuals’ unique needs are what drives UNYQ’s strategy and are the basis for all of our products—we feel completely aligned with IKEA on this mission.”

Other products are in development for the UPPKOPPLA gamer series, including gaming accessories, desk supports, chairs and tables. The ultimate goal of the joint collection is to make gaming more comfortable, healthier and overall more enjoyable.

“It’s actually striking how unexplored this part of the gaming industry is,” added Tommy Ingemarsson, founder and CEO of Area Academy. “Focus has always been on the hardware, and everything else has been ignored.”

UNYQ IKEA gamer products
3D printed wrist band (Photo: Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2019)

Nikolic concluded: “This is an exciting chance to create products that can be personalized and unique for people with particular needs. We’re looking forward to customizing other kind of products for more groups of people.”

The first UPPKOPPLA products for gamers are expected to be released in 2020. IKEA has also released a number of other 3D printed products, including limited edition home accessories and DIY add-ons to make its existing products more accessible to the physically disabled.

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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