HYBRIDEX

A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences


Makie Dolls

Makie Dolls 4Makies are 3D printed dolls. User customizes the doll’s facial features in MakieLab web service after which the doll is printed and shipped. Through the service, additional clothes and accessories are also available.

The lowering costs of 3D printing sees companies adapting the technology to new sectors, such as customizable toys. MakieLab lets customers closely define the appearance – face, skin color, hair type and color – of the elf-like Makie doll via a related web service. Users are able to create as many virtual Makies as they want and then order the creations they like as 3D printed dolls. The service can then be used to shop from a wide variety of additional doll clothes and accessories. Makies support more extensive customizing, too, as the doll’s head can be fitted with electronics, such as Lilypad Arduino sets, Bluetooth, and RFID tags, for further tinkering.

While the price tag of roughly 80€ is not necessarily too high for children, high-end collectible toys are often embraced by adult aficionados. This kind of business model strongly relies on the community, as the users are encouraged to create custom content and share design tips and photos.

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First moments with my Makie doll, Anna Marie

Summer 2012 I ordered my very first Makie doll from MakieLabs.

MakieLabs is a toy and games company developing “future-smashing toy: customisable, 3D-printed, locally made, and game-enabled”, unique ball-jointed dolls. MakieLabs is based in London.

I ordered my Anna Marie from the first alpha-batch. This is the first physical doll that I have bought on my adult age. The closest experience to Makies has been my history as an active The Sims player in the beginning of 2000. I can see some similarities in the fascination of this hobby over the digital/virtual craft.

Anna Marie is “born digital”. This means that you create an avatar, give her name and personality and then you can, if you wish, order her as 3D-printed fully functional doll.

Interestingly, there is something a bit scary in physical dolls. The first two nights I made sure that Anna Marie was in a comfortable position so that she would not get too mad at me, if at some point the scenario of Chucky would come to life. I know, it is a bit funny. But that happened. I guess there is something engaging in the process of creating something unique and then bringing her into life.

Photo 14.6.2012 13.19.43

Anna Marie came in a sleek tube. I liked this style!

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The first thing I saw was her pink hair. Pretty!

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Was not too happy with the first self-made clothing, but it was fun! On the background, you can also see her in her digital life.

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Work in progress. This sweater was not the best summer garment though…

Annakaisa Kultima, Researcher and Project Manager of Hybridex.