Jan 5, 2016 | By Kira

American television network Syfy has announced the launch of Syfy Labs, its first ‘innovation lab’ that will create and expand its innovative, multi-platform programming via 3D printing, virtual reality, the Internet of Things, and other immersive, high-tech experiences. Syfy will make its CES debut this coming weekend in Las Vegas to demo its new 3D printing and tech initiatives and to promote its original series, including The Magicians, 12 Monkeys, and The Expanse.

Known for blending innovative and relevant technology with creative televisual storytelling, as it previously did with the release of a VR app for The Expanse, Syfy is now encouraging its viewers to bring the experience of their favorite original series home through a unique partnership with MakerBot, through which it will offer 3D printable files of exclusive models via MakerBot’s Thingiverse. This makes Syfy the first major television network ever to share original, exclusive content via the 3D printing platform.

It’s no secret that sci-fi fans and 3D printing go hand in hand—do a quick search on just about any 3D repository site for ‘Star Trek’, ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Dr Who’ and you’ll get hundreds, if not thousands of instant results. It comes as no surprise then that Syfy (a division of NBCUniversal) would want to tap into the intersection of these two worlds in order to give their viewers a truly interactive experience and a deeper connection with the shows they already love.

Syfy’s Thingiverse profile already includes a variety of accurate 3D replicas of characters, locations, ships, logos and more from their original supernatural/fantasy/science-fiction programming. These include detailed 3D printable ships seen on Syfys’ The Expanse, such as The Canterbury, The Donnager, The Knight and The Rocinante. 

“Syfy has a long history of using technology in innovative and unexpected ways to enhance our television programming. The launch of SyFy Labs formalizes our commitment to giving our viewers new ways to experience our rich content in a variety of exciting ways, on many different platforms,” said Matthew Chiavelli, SVP of Syfy Digital.

As for MakerBot, the company acknowledged that although this is the first known alliance between a 3D printing company and a major television network, it’s not likely to be the last. It hopes the Syfy-MakerBot partnership will serve as a model for future alliances, showing programmers how 3D printing can enhance viewer engagement by giving fans access to exclusive, licensed merchandise that they can make at home. Furthermore, MakerBot believes that as the largest 3D printing community in the world, Thingiverse serves as the ideal platform to connect the largest number of TV fans with various 3D printable products.

The partnership with MakerBot is not the only exciting new tech initiative for Syfy Labs. Following the successful release of an iOS and Android Google Cardboard-enabled Virtual Reality (VR) app for its original series, The Expanse, Syfy’s emerging technology division will also be releasing a new THE EXPANSE VR app for Samsung Gear VR, allowing plugged-in users to explore the actual spacecraft and settings from the series in high-quality 3D VR.

Furthermore, Syfy Labs will build on its existing collaboration with Philips Hue to create more custom built Syfy Sync ‘lighting tracks’, an immersive technology that adjusts viewers’ home lighting to match on-screen plot developments and scenarios. The Philips Hue/Syfy Sync lighting tracks will be available for the first entire season of The Expanse as well as season 2 of 12 Monkeys and this summer’s highly anticipated (well, within the Syfy world, at least) Sharknado 4.

All three new high-tech storytelling initiatives will be on display during CES in Las Vegas at Syfy Labs’ interactive space, located in the Grand Lobby. From January 5th-9th Syfy fans will be able to discuss the new innovation lab with Syfy representatives, and be introduced to 3D printing technology, as the booth will feature MakerBot Replicator 3D printers as well as the new MakerBot Smart Extruder+, which was also just unveiled this week.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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