The title of this article may sound like post-modern gibberish, but transforming your smartphone into a 3D printer is exactly what OLO is designed to do. Developed by Solido3D, a rapid prototyping and digital fabrication firm that describes itself as “the first Italian ‘digital factory’”, OLO is a device that its designers claim can turn any smartphone into a 3D printer. And, in about a month, OLO will be available for purchase for only $99 on Kickstarter.
Though the actual mechanics of OLO have yet to be revealed, the OLO 3D team tells me that the battery-powered device consists of only 7 components and one motor and uses “smartphone electronics to their full potential”. The app behind the printer will be free to download and allow users to upload and manage their 3D models, as well as send them to print. Additionally, they will be able to share their models and make their skills available to the OLO community, making the printer itself a social device.
More importantly, because 80% of all adults who use the web now own smartphones, OLO opens up access to 3D printing technology to just about everyone on the Internet, as it is compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. With a price of about $99, depending on the actual crowdfunding specifics, this makes the printer just about as affordable as the low-cost Peachy Printer, except that every customer already carries a large portion of the machine around in their pockets everyday. In this way, the OLO 3D team may fulfill its goal “to provide everyone with access to 3D printing technology in an easy, quick, and, most importantly, extremely affordable way.”
While Kickstarter has had its fair share of 3D printing-related scams, Solido3D has had a solid track record over the past 15 years, working on over 1,200 projects that include clients such as Calvin Klein, Vodafone, Coca Cola, Zaha Hadid, and Viacom. This, in addition to working with young creatives, has, they said, allowed them to understand 3D printing technology and its market. To further validate their claims, OLO just took home the Editor’s Choice Award for one of the best inventions at last week’s World Maker Faire in New York.
From the huge response OLO received at Maker Faire, from such important figures as Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi, it’s hard not to believe the inventor and designer of OLO, Filippo Moroni, when he says that this will be the first device capable of turning any smartphone into a 3D printer. The campaign to fund the manufacturing of OLO is set to hit Kickstarter at the end of October, but you can sign up to be notified when the campaign goes live and enter to win one ahead of time by taking part in their social media campaign. By taking a selfie on Instagram with the hashtag #olo3d, you’ll be entered to win one, though $99 is just a scratch above a free 3D printer.