I’m not much for official predictions, so I won’t bother to make any such announcements here. From my perspective, most people posting prediction lists haven’t really given those predictions sufficient thought and are either doing it because everyone else is (which is somewhat at odds with making worthwhile predictions in the first place, afaic) and/or because they think it’ll drive traffic to their website (which again plays to the “color inside the lines” crowd mentality).
What I do find somewhat interesting is that while there appear to be a significant number of across-the-board predictions for virtual worlds, I haven’t come across a single industry prediction for Industrial Design.
Some time back I wrote a blog entry titled, “Converging Toys, Part I” (reLink) with the intention of writing a “Part II” shortly after. Needless to say, this follow-up is a long time in coming, but I can’t think of a better time than now, as it comes so soon after Christmas.
The big story of this Christmas season is probably Webkinz (mentioned earlier in my “Dawn of the Transreality Toys” post – reLink). I’ve been seeing blog posts and Twitter entries relaying everything from how popular the Webkinz product is (Link 1, Link 2) to how difficult logging into the Webkinz online world has become (Link 3, Link 4). An enviable problem to be sure, and one which I suspect we’ll see repeated as more toy companies explore this development angle and try to figure out how to replicate Ganz’s success. What’s notable, however, is how quickly Webkinz’s approach – tangible reality combined with a virtual component – has been embraced by consumers and other toy companies (Mattel’s BarbieGirls being one of the more heavily discussed since its announcement).
No one following the news – online or off – is surprised by how often a story mutates beyond recognition. We have jokes specifically addressing the inability of most people to accurately relay information. However, beyond simple mistakes, I’ve noticed an increasing number of virtual worlds-based business blogs providing their own convenient versions of events in what seems to me to be the single-minded pursuit of selling themselves (or their client projects).
Here’s one apparent example, which I promised the site owner I’d blog.
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There hasn’t been anything particularly noteworthy in the 3D printing/rapid manufacturing arena lately, except for the fact that the technology itself is getting increasing exposure. Here are a few stories I happened to bookmark and which some of you might enjoy… assuming you missed them:
C|Net, “Trends 2008: Will 3D printing finally go mainstream?” (Link)
Wall Street Journal, “How 3-D Printing Figures To Turn Web Worlds Real” (Link)
Core77, “JuJups 3D design and print portal” (Link)
I’m not sure 3D printing and fabbing will break out in 2008, but I’m hopeful it’ll make some important strides.
For those of you who recall my earlier entry discussing the Philips Design probe discussion (reLink), consider this a follow-on post.
I took the time to sit in on the Philips meeting and while I crashed out (twice) and lost my chat record, you can read it here: “Sophrosyne’s Saturday Salon: Philips Design Probe – SKIN:Tattoo” (Link).
I hadn’t really intended to get too involved with the discussion, but… well, you know how it goes. And as I mentioned something I’ve not really discussed here, I figure I’ll point it out and include related links.