MakerBot is best known for its 3D printers. Would you have predicted an MP3 player for its newest product?
The MixTape is available in two iterations. The $25 MixTape Kit, aimed at those who already own a 3D printer, includes the guts of a basic MP3 player. Simply print out the enclosure using the plans on MakerBot's Thingiverse site, plug in the electronics, and you're ready to upload your music.
For those without a 3D printer, MakerBot will sell you a pre-assembled MixTape for $39.
The actual specs of the MixTape MP3 player are modest. It has 2GB of storage capacity, and a 4-hour lithium-ion battery that charges when you connect it to your Mac or PC via the included USB cable. The MixTape also conveniently functions as a standard thumb drive.
The affordable price and low-fi design both fit in well with MakerBot's intention that the product helps you "rediscover the magic of making a mixtape." The kit version offers even offers arguably more personalization than old-school mixtapes, since you can tweak the physical design of the case by editing the 3D design files.
It's that tweakability that makes the MixTape Kit a rather perfect MakerBot product. In itself it performs a useful function. And if you have another idea for an object that might benefit from an embedded MP3 player, all you need to do is buy a 3D printer and you can make that design a reality.