Silicon Valley company UNYQ uses 3D printing and digitization technologies to customize its designs, and is responsible for some of the more interesting 3D printed medical wearable innovations we’ve seen, from prosthetics and back braces to prosthetic leg coverings. Its virtual orthopedic service provides 3D printed solutions to increase users’ choice and comfort, as well as streamline the production process. Now, the company is partnering with popular furnishings manufacturer IKEA and educational e-sport company Area Academy to develop a customized seating solution for gamers.
When I was in college, practically every room on the men’s floor of my dorm contained at least one video game chair. Some were bulky, with rips that had been covered by duct tape, while others were slimmer and fancier; nearly all were black. According to UNYQ, there are about two billion gamers in the world, and that number is growing rapidly. But for such a large group, it’s long been shuffled to the back of the line in the home furnishings world…until now.
IKEA, UNYQ, and Area Academy have been working together to create a unique 3D printed prototype that will make gaming equipment more customized, ergonomic, and accessible.
“By teaming up with UNYQ, IKEA wishes to learn how you could utilise photometric and 3D-scanning in combination with 3D-printing to make it possible to personalise products for better ergonomics and a more individualised appearance,” said Marcus Engman, the Head of Design at IKEA Range & Supply, which develops, designs, produces, and supplies IKEA stores around the world with home furnishing solutions. “Area Academy has the expert knowledge in what it takes in terms of equipment to make a truly great gamer, and to have a greater gaming experience.”
Engman additionally noted, “We are curious about how home furnishing combined with new technology could improve gaming and life around it. And we believe that we have just the right collaborators to do this, one that knows all about the needs of gamers and one that knows all about the technologies of personalisation.”
Area Academy works with schools that want to use e-sports in education, and also sets up camps for e-sportsmen. The company has also set up test panels of e-sportsmen of different levels and ages, which can offer tips and advice to furniture designers.
UNYQ has been working with Area Academy to take a closer look at appearance, ergonomics, and mobility, in an effort to explore how the gaming life can be changed for the better through home furnishings.
“When considering how to enhance your performance within gaming people usually think about the software of the device you use and not the functionality in your space. But ergonomics are actually an equally important factor in becoming a better gamer,” Area Academy founder Tommy Ingemarsson said.
It only took nine weeks to come up with, and complete, the design for the 3D printed gaming chair, which was debuted at IKEA’s Democratic Design Days in Älmhult, Sweden, showcasing the latest 3D printed chair from IKEA.
“When designing for e-sports players, one must remember that a gamer is not just a youth. Many people who play are actually in their 35s,” explained Ingemarsson in a translated quote. “The idea of this and the cooperation with Unyq is that you can scan your body and customize the furniture for each individual. It can also be about adjusting color and appearance.
“I spent several years sitting on a kitchen chair when I started playing and it was not very good.”
Beginning in 2020, the 3D printed gaming chair will be available for a limited time.
“This is such an exciting opportunity for UNYQ,” Eythor Bender, the CEO of UNYQ, said. “We have always been focused on making choice, design and customization available for as many people as possible. To be able to have this collaboration, which aims at both customizing equipment for gamers as well as making that design and innovation accessible to all through the IKEA concept is truly amazing.
“Affordability, choice and accessibility have always been in the forefront for us when developing UNYQ to what it is today. To be able to work together with IKEA, a company that has democratized the world of interior design and truly brought together the concepts of design and affordability is very special for us – it is a mission that we share.”
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