AMABLE and Toys4Humanity
Toys4humanity (whose specific, separate website is located here) has been funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 AMable project (AMable D637), funded from the European Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No 768775 and coordinated by Fraunhofer ILT. AMable is participated by a group of people from different organisations that aim to create a new eco-system for the uptake of additive manufacturing. Those people provide a wide based of expertise from technology, business and training. The European Commission supports this consortium under the framework of I4MS with funding from the H2020 framework program and with guidance towards an open platform for European companies.
The prime target group are small and medium sized companies (SMEs) that need support in the uptake of additive manufacturing. AMable aims to empower people in those companies to enhance their skills rather than doing the job for the people. The eco-system however will develop a wide-spread offering from scientific support through skills and education to commercial service offers.
Amable launched since its kick-off numerous Open Calls (OCs): 3DiTALY and DAMA network applied for OC4 and Toys4humanity has been funded by the Horizon 2020 AMable Project (AMable D637) since December 2020.
The Toys4Humanity project focuses on the use of Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing for the creation, enhancement of the performance and robust manufacturability of toys and tutorials, based on mathematical and artistic shapes.
Global society is facing the arrival of a storm of innovations and disruptive applications as a fallout of the exponentially developing technological process that has been accelerating since the turn of the current century. The changes will be very profound at an economic, cultural, social and political level, and these trends will also pose challenges in the educational fields.
Overlapping this scenario are the widely anticipated consequences of climate change, as well as the unforeseen and unpredictable impacts of the SARS COV2 pandemic that entered the scene as a black swan in a preexistent very fluid situation. These phenomena, which are already underway, lead to a widespread situation of great insecurity and destabilization; but also, as in all deep crises, great opportunities for changes and evolution. Among human activities and occupations, those based on creative and lateral thinking skills will be those probably least at risk from Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and automation-induced technological unemployment; and those most useful for imagining the necessary innovative solutions (being those that more difficultly – or later in time -will be supplanted by automation).
An aspect that is too much neglected in the process of digitization, virtualization and automation of society is the urgent need to develop children’s minds towards an artistic, creative and mathematical direction and an education to the use of digital technologies in a proactive and creative way. Greater efforts should be made to reduce the risk of passivation of natural intelligence along a digital transition (digital addiction) based on the increasingly pervasive presence of artificial intelligences; mainly whereas the standard lifestyle in several parts of the world is starting to be characterized by remote social interactions through virtual means and with reduced physical contacts.
Since the first months in the cradle, when not only baby cells but also its mind is pulsing with growing potential, the toy is for a baby, after the body and the voice of the mother, the first sensory stimulus, growth and exploration of tangible external world, i.e. the first learning tool.
In the past, toys were made by family members or by a village carpenter, or – for the most fortunate ones – commissioned to specialized local craftsmen capable of shaping and sculpting wood, molding and coloring ceramic and clay, modelling and casting metals: the toy was a sort of age-old meme, a public cultural heritage. Once upon a time, toys also reflected the culture and the story of place where they are created and used; and at the same time were handed down as a private and intimate object, from father to his sons, and so on, between generations.
Today, toys are mostly manufactured and purchased, and too much similar to each other, without soul and personality, while also lacking harmonic forms or beauty messages, missing the link to local cultures. Even toys are today the victims and expression of the culture of disposability, without history or conceptual or artistic elaboration, often a vector of the current or desired or induced lifestyle by the films, video games or cartoons marketing; and moreover, too often toys are today extremely far from European cultural and artistic heritage. They draw inspiration for example from North American (anorexic dolls) or Japanese (monsters, ninja, anime) creations; or from a Chinese designer who arranges the parts at random, or as a result of planned obsolescence projects.
Recently, there is also the trend of a progressive trivialization of the variegated world of bricks (Lego or Lego alike) that were, at the beginning, simple units that could be assembled to compose different objects each time – and therefore representing exceptional tools for the development of the child’s creativity. Now bricks are just pieces to assembly for recreating scenarios, or figures, or subjects already determined by the manufacturer itself.
These trends cause losing along the way the spirit of diversity, which is the basis of the development of the ability to create and imagine; and if it is true that the human being, from the cradle and for all the time of developmental age, is “shaped” according to the environment in which he grows, if children are born (and develop) surrounded by mass-produced and unsightly objects (and places), without geometries and proportions, there is the risk of incapacity to recognize, recreate and conceive beauty and harmony.
TOYS4HUMANITY was therefore created to realize in Additive Manufacturing and bring to market, toys, dolls with special designs reproducing and/or revisiting toys from the past that now lie only in museums; three-dimensional figurine, dolls and puppet as reinterpretations of characters depicted in famous paintings; scaled famous architectures of the recent and remote past to make little dolly houses and castles for children; toys, puzzle, walker and tutorial with an exclusive golden ratio inspired designs. Such cultural recovery activity aims at producing special three-dimensional objects and make them enter the homes of European citizens and beyond, occupying a no more existent niche in the toy market.
In case of global and worldwide expansion, TOYS4HUMANITY also wants to recovery the specificities and diversities of the various cultures, the most currently affected by globalization and homologation.
TOYS4HUMANITY represents a step forward, providing not only unique and customizable toys thanks to new disruptive technologies as AM, but also – and above all – objects that recall or rework the forms of the great Hellenistic and Renaissance European tradition, including the avant-garde toys of the twentieth century, to educate the new digital age generations to beauty, mathematics and golden ratio, while unfolding their natural intelligence to the best of their potentials.
For 3DItaly and TOYS4HUMANITY, this also means fulfilling an ethical and social commitment to let XXII century children to grow adequately equipped to face the next era of artificial intelligence, automation and digital society challenges.
More information on Toys4humanity
More information on Toys4humanity can be found on the Toys4humanity website and on the related social media.