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Hasbro and Mattel take toymaking into a new dimension in 2021

It is clear that playmaker Mattel (NASDAQ: MAT MATMattel Inc13. 93 + 4. 74% created with Highstock 4. 2. 6) and Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS HASHasbro Inc88. 69-0. 36% created with Highstock 4.26) No longer fear of their intellectual property being stolen Bring the power of 3D printing into the hands of kids.

Mattel joined in last month Autodesk together (NASDAQ: ADSK ADSKAutodesk Inc122. 40-1. 16% Created with Highstock 4.26) to introduce a modern version of the Thingmaker toy from the 1960s that kids can use to 3D print their own toys. And now Hasbro has filed a patent for a 3D toy print scanner that uses the power of a smartphone to digitize small toys. But can they contain the ghost now that they have allowed it to escape the bottle?

It has long been a concern of Hasbro, Mattel, Lego, and others that the potential for piracy of their branded toys could harm their industries, just as digital content piracy rocked the music and games industries. ..

Mattel's Thingmaker is a $ 300 3D printer that uses a tough PLA plastic filament as the building block of the toys. The printer has numerous built-in safety functions that ensure that children do not get burned or break the device. At the same time, it's intuitive and easy to use with Autodesk custom software. Apps for Android and iOS are already available and pre-installed with dozens of blueprints for a variety of trinkets.

Hasbro takes a different approach. Not quite a 3D printer, the company designed a scanner that allows the toy to rotate so the smartphone can take pictures from different angles, which can then be printed out elsewhere.

Hasbro took its first steps to stick its toes in the 3D waters a few years ago by partnering with Shapeways to allow brand fans to upload their designs to a dedicated website, SuperFanArt. com. It was unique because after the designs were printed out on the Shapeways infrastructure, the toy fans were allowed to sell them. Either way, it also reflected the playmaker's fears about piracy, as he originally limited himself to My Little Pony toys only, though it has since expanded to include Transformers, Dungeons & Dragons, Monopoly, Scrabble, DragonVale, and GI Joe has been. ..

By patenting scanners and introducing 3D printers for the home, the playmakers admit they must or will pass the technology on, but how they keep Barbie and Disney Princesses from spreading, is still uncertain, although it's likely a problem for toy makers like LEGO who haven't necessarily signed up but can see copies of their collapsible blocks in the wild.

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Rich Duprey has no position in the stocks mentioned.