Start-up company Formify has developed a new tech system that works to create custom gaming mice designed to fit your hand perfectly and enhancing gaming performance.
Formify believes that personal design should be accessible for everyone, according to its founder and CEO Will MacLaughlin. The company started in early 2020 as a crew of engineers at an internship and has since worked to progress the quality of its software and product.
All Formify’s design and parametric design software development is done house. The custom shaped gaming mouse is its first product and can be manufactured from a simple picture of a person’s hand.
MacLaughlin says that it is “ridiculous” that everyone is using the same shaped mouse – disregarding “comfort and performance” – in something as competitive as gaming. Eager to get the design right, the Formify team made “over 150 shape iterations” before landing on the right one.
The user experience is meant to be quick and easy. “All they have to do is send us a photo of their hand above a standard sheet of paper and then wait for their mouse to be shipped to them,” says MacLaughlin
Formify’s machine learning parametric design software automates the design process to a completed STL file of the mouse. STL files are the most used file format for 3D printing.
From there, the manufacturing is done using an “additive manufacturing technology” called Multi Jet Fusion (MJF), says MacLaughlin. This is a powder bed fusion technology that fuses thermoplastic particles with heat.
MJF technology can produce functional nylon prototypes and end-use production parts in the space of a day. Compared to other techniques, it produces more consistent mechanical properties and quality surface finishes.
These 3D printed parts are then assembled with Formify’s “state of the art circuit board” which features a 3395 Pixart sensor, says MacLaughlin. He adds that the final result is a mouse designed to give users “the most ergonomic grip possible”.
Key design features of the mouse include its custom shape, low latency wireless system, programable thumb buttons, and 650 IPS sensor tracking.
MacLaughlin says that the biggest design challenge was “building the software to be fully automated”, which has taken over two and a half years.