In June last year, IKEA, Swedish furniture giant, and UNYQ, a Startup specialising in developing medical wearables, collaborated to develop ergonomic 3D Printed Chairs for the global gaming community. This week, UNYQ announced that the partnership has now resulted in the launch of three new personalised 3D printed products for the global gaming community.
The products are part of IKEA and UNYQ’s broader collection titled UPPKOPPLA, meaning ‘online’, and will comprise a series of products to improve the gaming experience and surrounding life at home. Like last year, Area Academy, an educational e-sport company, is also a part of the project.
The new products were unveiled at IKEA’s annual Democratic Design Day in Älmhult, southern Sweden.
Ergonomic Chair Prototype 2018
Last year, UNYQ and IKEA started their partnership and released the prototype of their ergonomic 3D printed chair for gamers. The product development cycle, in which the product was designed and printed, took only nine weeks showing the vast potential of UNYQ’s design team as well as their means of production. Both the companies were also joined by Area Academy to explore the possibilities of using home furnishing to change gaming and the life around it.
3D Printed Product Line
Above: Introduction of the new 3D Printed product line from UNYQ & IKEA/Video Credit: UNYQ/YouTube
There are an estimated 2.2 billion gamers around the world playing for a total of 14 billion hours per week. Gamers spend a large portion of their time online, sitting for hours on end, which can lead to massive physical strain on the body. Drawing on the expertise and input of Area Academy with a thorough understanding of the unique wants and needs of gamers, UNYQ and IKEA identified an opportunity to create products which are not only functional, customised and design driven, but also offer ergonomic benefits.
The three new 3D printed products for gamers includes:
- A biometric wrist support which maintains the correct height of the gamers’ wrist to the keyboard, reducing strain on their tendons;
- Soft pliable, vented keycaps which make the keyboard feel like a physical extension of a gamers’ fingers; and
- A portable mouse “bungee” which clamps the users’ mouse cable in place, preventing tangling and enabling full freedom of movement.
Currently, the collaboration is only focused on the gaming community but considering this partnership both the companies are looking to leverage the concept across a range of other sectors as well to tap the varying interests, unique preferences and specific needs of that community of users.
The 3D printing technology behind the production of these products were led by Carbon, a digital manufacturing company based in California.
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Speaking about the launch of their product line, Eythor Bender, Co-Founder and CEO of UNYQ said, “We are thrilled to launch this new product line in collaboration with IKEA and Area Academy. The gaming community has been overlooked for a long time when it comes to furniture and accessories that are functional and customised, as well as aesthetically suit individuals’ preferences. We have the ability to address the unique needs of these individuals and, in turn, personalise, protect and improve their game. Additionally, the generative design and additive manufacturing process simplifies and shortens value and supply chains, making it easily-replicable across different products, more affordable and allowing individuals to partake in the design process.”
He continued, “It has been a great experience to collaborate with IKEA over the past year – both companies are committed to creating products for the underserved that are practical, accessible and design focused, and truly reflect ‘democratic design’. We look forward to continuing to work together and leveraging the concept of mass customisation across a range of markets, tapping into other underserved communities where needs are currently unmet.”
According to Michael Nikolic, Creative Leader at IKEA of Sweden, “This is an exciting partnership for IKEA. UNYQ has developed a method of creating solutions that fit everyone’s unique needs and tastes, letting customers take design into their own hands. It is a great way to give customers exactly what they want, and it also minimises waste as production is directly aligned with demand and there is no inventory. We are really looking forward to see where this new way of working will take us and are excited to continue to collaborate with UNYQ.”
The new UPPKOPPLA collection will be made available to order via a smartphone app globally in 2020. Once launched, gamers can use UNYQ’s market leading photogrammetry, enabled by the user’s phone camera, to create personalised and customised versions of the gaming accessories, which are then delivered directly to their home within weeks.
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