Engineers from Disney Research Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are creating next-gen interactive toys via a technology they call "Printed Optics." Printed Optics uses additive manufacturing to embed sensors and display elements directly into the toys during printing.
Disney released a pdf on the subject that states "Optical elements can be integrated into the body of a device to guide light through the model, act as lenses, or house optical sensors. A single mechanical-optical design can greatly reduce the number of individual parts and the manual labor required for assembly."
The Disney engineers are using Objet Eden 260V printers from Stratasys to create the toys. The big star of the show so far seems to be VeroClear, a transparent build material that allows light to pass through the toys at necessary points.
"We envision a future world where interactive devices can be printed rather than assembled; a world where a device with active components is created as a single object, rather than a case enclosing circuit boards and individually assembled parts," Disney revealed in their report.
Disney has a number of Printed Optics projects in development right now. You can take a look at some of their recent inventions here: