3D-printing in an innovation kids’ app

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In 2014, Microsoft approached Future Platforms with a vision of creating a ground breaking and fun educational app derived from the popular Dorling Kindersley Make Your Own T. Rex book. Microsoft’s ambition was to build an app that would stand out from their already growing portfolio of Windows apps, showcasing their 3D printing software by allowing users to build and print their very own 3D T. Rex models. Microsoft saw an opportunity to utilise and combine the innovation of the Windows platform, with DK’s own distinctive and informative style, to produce an app that gives children an insight into what it’s like to be a real life palaeontologist. As a global publisher for children and adults, Dorling Kindersley benefit from the creation of an interactive adaptation of the book, and broaden the reach of the T. Rex content.

Microsoft approached DK with their vision of an app combining an educational and interactive experience for children with an interest in Dinosaurs, with users who have an interest in 3D printing. At this point, our expertise was engaged to provide the design and development solutions in the delivery of a Windows 8.1 app.

The app would allow children to explore the world of the T. Rex to find out what they eat, how they live, and other fun and interesting facts. Perfect for any child with an interest in dinosaurs.

This app features:

  • “Find and Build” offers a fun and interactive learning experience for children to excavate and assemble a full T. Rex skeleton
  • “Discover More” provides a wealth of information on the T. Rex including details of the world it inhabited, what it ate, how it got about and even how it might have brought up its young
  • Includes detailed 3D visuals of the skeleton and a 3D printable version of a fully fleshed T. Rex

Throughout the process we worked meticulously with DK’s in house team to ensure that their distinctive Dorling Kindersley brand was implemented. We also had to ensure it was a simple and streamlined user experienced for users printing their T. Rex models on 3D printers. To incorporate 3D printing capability from within the app required complex programming, covering new ground for the Windows platform. With help from Makerversity, we were able to take the 3D model designs and make them 3D printable, as well as producing an optional printable base to enhance the models.

Through tight collaboration between all parties, DK Print Your Own T. Rex has been considered a great success. The app is prompting a positive initial reaction from users with glowing reviews on the Windows app store.

Working with Future Platforms on the 'DK Print Your Own 3-D T-Rex' was a very smooth-running process. From the very beginning they were keen to explore all of the opportunities that both our content provided and that the platform allowed. As well as their innovative approach to creating the App they were extremely collaborative and sensitive to our views at every step of the way.

Phil Ormerod, Art Director - Dorling Kindersley

I installed this for my 7 year old son who loves dinosaurs. I have access to a 3d printer in my office and as he tagged along with me today when I went in for a quick job, took the chance to show him the app. It gave him something fun to do, taught him some new info about dinosaurs, and the added bonus of him being able to finish the day with a brand new t rex model that he fabricated himself? Epic. I simply can't fault this app. Please add more dinosaurs!!

DK Print your own 3D T. Rex User

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