3D Systems, the company that says it pioneered 3D printing 26 years ago, announced today that it has acquired My Robot Nation, a California startup that gives buyers a set of simple Web-based tools for designing their own small, collectible 3D-printed droid figures.
During the last couple of years, 3D Systems has been on a buying spree, snatching up 24 3D printing companies. And Cathy Lewis, the company's vice president of global marketing, explained that the idea has been to add many new technologies and applications to 3D Systems' portfolio with a special emphasis on the consumer marketplace.
That's where My Robot Nation comes into play. Launched last December, the startup--which was founded by longtime video game industry veterans Sarah Stocker and Mark Danks--lets anyone easily craft their own robot design and then have it 3D printed and shipped to them.
But My Robot Nation was built with the idea that robots--as wonderful as they--were a "Trojan horse" that would help the company build a user base that would then be interested in a wide variety of other 3D printed products.
And according to Lewis, that's precisely the thing that attracted 3D Systems. Recently, that company introduced its Cubify platform, a home 3D printer that should compete with the likes of MakerBot, and 3D Systems believes that My Robot Nation fits right into the new model of letting consumers interact directly with 3D models and 3D printing and also adds a bit of an attractive gaming element to the equation
The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.
But Lewis, Stocker, and Danks all agreed that the My Robot Nation brand isn't going away. Rather, consumers will be able to access the service through MyRobotNation.com as well as through Cubify.com.