In the rush to maximize on the upswing around 3D printing technologies, it is not surprising that a number of design firms have taken the opportunity to promote the original use of 3D printing for rapid prototyping purposes, citing the quick turnaround time that the technology offers over traditional product development processes. bhold, a New York-based design house uses additive manufacturing to make similar claims, but they do things just a little bit differently.
What is it that they do differently? Well, if you are only looking at their website, you might assume that they’ve just done a better job of creating a brand and marketing their designs. The company’s title lends itself to all sorts of cute puns and product names, like the “bstrong utility hook” and the “bspacey combo organizer”. And their promo videos have the all-too-ubiquitous ukelele score that lets you know that bhold is a young, tech-savvy company. But, beneath the gloss, bhold is original in that it attempts to use 3D printing to make audience-responsive, iterative designs. In other words, their products adapt to the feedback of consumers thanks to the possibilities allowed by 3D printing.
The company’s CEO, Susan Taing, served a seven-year tenure at Google, where she came up with the idea behind bhold. According to Taing, “at Google we learned to launch and iterate to get the best possible product for the consumer, which is fairly easy to do in a digital space. At bhold, we’re taking this same concept to the physical world.” With the ability to modify designs and print new iterations quickly, consumers can be invited to be more directly involved in the development process and, rather than wait for 100,000 people to have an issue with some product before mass producing it, bhold can tweak problems when they become apparent, bringing physical objects into the web 2.0 era. As the firm’s PR materials put it, “the process is fast enough to allow a weekly turnaround for new product iterations based on user feedback.”
In case you’re interested in becoming a product tester for bhold, anyone can get free prototypes from the company to review here.