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What happens when you cross 3D printing and Transformers?

Welcome to the FrugalBlog, Connor O’Brien’s weekly compendium on frugal innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, and social justice. Send comments, criticism or ideas to

TGIF Frugalites!

I hope you are feeling prepped and ready for the final week of the quarter. In an effort to help you out, I went back to my old MacBook and pulled up my favorite study play list. It got me through more than enough mid-term and final study sessions and I think it still holds up pretty well despite being fairly dated. I'm going to post a song by a different band every day from now until finals. Hopefully it will serve you as well as it served me. Enjoy!

Audiophile Music Advisory: Ratatat, "Loud Pipes"

In the New Year, FIL has been busy busy busy! We had our very first business centric design workshop hosted by Greg Tseng, a graduate business school student, and yours truly. Elizabeth was a huge help in generating the content, helping shape the mission of the workshop, and she got pizza for everyone who attended. So, next time you see her, say thanks, and find out about the next session. We unfortunately don't have any pictures of workshop, but trust me; it was a great time for everyone involved.

We also had an amazing meeting and brain storming session with the director of Wikipedia's mobile applications to talk about new content delivery systems via SMS messaging and how Frugal Labs can help support their effort to reach emerging markets. 

Article Link: Hasbro brings 3D printing to Transformers. The world is a better place

As you may or may not know, we here at the Frugal Labs LOVE 3D printing. In fact, I would venture to say that our love for 3D printing is really only surpassed by our love of renewable energy, global public health, and, of course, transformers.

When we found out that Hasbro (famous for Monopoly, My Little Pony, and Spider-Man toys to name a few of their massive hits) was partnering with 3D Systems to "co-develop, co-venture and deliver new immersive, creative play experiences powered by 3D printing for children and their families later this year" we were more than a little excited.

While this partnership doesn’t align directly with our mission of business-centric socially responsibility, it is absolutely a step in the right direction toward making 3D printing a functional tool for the masses. Pretty soon, kids will be growing up using 3D printers to augment and replace broken pieces or design their own toys. By making 3D printing a part of everyday life, an entire market will be created (experts believe as big as $500 Billion by 2025) that will cater to this new demand. This will help drive down prices, increase innovation, and generally make 3D printing cheaper, more affordable, and distributed.

Having the ability to easily replace broken pieces on an Optimus Prime action figure doesn't exactly help combat global public health or fix the energy crisis in most emerging markets, but it definitely is a positive step towards finding scalable, affordable solutions to these huge problems.

Too cool not to try: Turn your phone lens into a handheld microscope

Thanks again for reading, and as always comments, complaints, tips and suggestions can be sent to

Have a great week!

The Frugal Lab Team

Frugal Innovation Lab |  Bannan Labs Building 404
500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053
1-408-554-2334 |