When the 3D-printed teddy bear hits the market, it will give companies such as Build-a-Bear a run for their money. It uses 3D printing technology to create custom stuffed animals for children and, let's face it, adults who are still young at heart. Although action figures and other toys have been made using such a technique, the 3D-printed teddy bears introduces playthings that are significantly more cuddly.
Developed by Disney Research in collaboration with a team from Carnegie Mellon University, the 3D-printed teddy bears are made with a 3D printer that has been blended with a sewing machine. Layers of felt are sewn together using a technique called needle felting. In addition to teddy bears, the researchers foresee this printer being used to create soft robots and more. It was recently presented at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.