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Design agency creates 3D printed walkman for the modern age

MVRK pays homage to the original Sony Walkman, released in 1979

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Technology has progressed at amazing rates. Think about it: just four decades ago, Sony released the first walkman. Today, you’d be hard pressed to find one in a store and most youngsters wouldn’t even recognize a cassette. For those for whom nostalgia bites hard, a creative design agency has created an homage to the now obsolete Walkman, ironically using state-of-the-art 3D printing technology to do so.

MVRK is a “future-forward experiential agency” with offices in Florida and New York. To celebrate the 41st anniversary of the Sony Walkman’s release, the team decided to recreate the portable music device and put its own spin on it. The reimagined walkman is a 3D printed product that, instead of playing cassettes, encases today’s most popular music device: smartphones.

3D printed walkman

The new device consists of a 3D printed casing fitted with 3D printed buttons that control digital music playback on the enclosed smartphone. The walkman is, for all intents and purposes, a suped-up mobile phone case, but that doesn’t make it any less cool.

The throwback phone case was designed using Fusion 360 and was 3D printed using an FDM system. Inside, the casing is fitted with an ESP32 microcontroller with buttons and a linear potentiometer. These components enable the user to play or pause their smartphone audio, as well as skip songs and adjust volume. For today’s modern user, the “walkman” also features a built-in phone charger. One of the device’s more traditional features is a headphone jack, so you can use the wired headphones of your choice.

The design agency writes: “At MVRK, we believe the real magic in making is giving life to imagination. Making gives us an avenue where we can dream as big as our hands can take us. We strive to create interactive experiences in unconventional and whimsical ways that garner surprise and delight. We place our imagination into the palm of your hands.”

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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