Dec 27, 2016 | By Tess

San Francisco is being invaded! By 3D printed toys, that is. 25-year-old software developer Ben Baltes is launching a city-wide scavenger hunt for 3D printed toys across San Francisco. The game, which was initiated through Reddit, is inviting anyone and everyone to participate in the hunt for over 200 individual 3D printed toys.

Baltes, who is a co-founder of Toybox, an Oakland-based toy 3D printer startup, decided to launch his scavenger hunt game—called “Hidden City”—after receiving a ton of positive feedback on a Reddit post that suggested the game. The idea for the game has been brewing in Baltes mind for nearly two years now, so it is exciting to hear that it is finally coming to fruition.

Essentially, with the help of his startup, Baltes plans to 3D print about 200 individual toys, which he will then distribute and hide across San Francisco. According to the maker, each toy will feature a distinct link or QR code that finders will be able to enter into an app or web platform to find out about where the toy has been before.

Toybox 3D printer

If you do happen upon one of the 3D printed toys, whether in a park, street corner, or cafe, Baltes is also encouraging you to snap a photo of yourself with the toy and post about where you found it, and in what conditions. According to Hidden City’s guidelines, the finder is only meant to keep the toy for 12 hours and must then hide it somewhere else, for the next person to find. Obviously, the game is highly experimental, and there is no sure sign that any of the 200 toys will even be found or be accounted for. Despite that risk, however, the game could very well prove to be a fun city-wide game for people to participate in.

Currently, Baltes is organizing and coordinating the game’s launch through an open Slack channel. With the help of volunteer game developers, makers, and more, he is hoping the game will be ready to launch by the end of February. Obviously organizing a game of this scale takes quite a lot of effort, so tasks such as app development, maintenance, updates, and above all toy creation, have been delegated through a shared spreadsheet.

3D printing 200 individual toys will be the most time consuming task, considering that each toy can take up to 4 to 5 hours to print. Fortunately, Baltes’ own startup will be supporting the game with its 3D printers. While there is no word on who will be designing all the toys, we imagine that Baltes will either design his own or use open-source creative commons 3D models.

In his Reddit post, Baltes explains his inspiration behind the project: “I think it would be really amazing over time tracking where these toys have gone over time and what type of people the toys have seen. There is no real purpose for me making this game other than I think that it may brighten people’s day by adding a little something extra that is interesting to their day.”

According to the maker, he will initially be hiding the toys in funny places, like a “monkey climbing a telephone pole, or a mouse near a gutter, sloth on a railing, etc.”. Where they end up after that, we’ll simply have to wait and find out!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Jake M wrote at 12/28/2016 8:12:13 PM:

Wow this is awesome! Can't wait to play!

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