Last month, I covered MediaBistro’s Inside 3-D Printing conference at the Javits Center on the west side of Manhattan.
The confab brought together big guys like 3-D Systems with boutique 3-D printer makers from across the country.
I came away most bullish on 3-D printing’s potential in medicine, and less so for everything else, at least for now. Mainstream printing is still too cute — most of the tables were basically filled with 3-D printed plastic cats — to augur a huge market buildup anytime soon.
But that doesn’t mean cute is bad — and it doesn’t even have to involve animals.
Among the firms represented was The Bobble Shop, a French-based group with a franchise in Washington Heights, that scans your head and puts it on any number of pre-set costumed figurines. Here’s how the process works:
I wasn’t thrilled with the costume choices available for heads that actually “bobble” (they tended to be sci-fi or military themed), so I went with a blonde samurai for maximum absurdity.
The table was on promo duty, so I didn’t have to pay for anything. Below is the result. Despite the hair and the costume, it’s kind of unnerving to have something that resembles me this much. As Ernst Jentsch wrote in his 1906 essay on uncanny feelings: “The finer the mechanism and the truer to nature the formal reproduction, the more strongly will the special effect also make its appearance.”
There are actually a bunch of firms that do this. The most high-end one is (where else) in Germany. They’re called TwinKind, and their results are even more stunning.
If this is the future of 3-D printing, it won’t be very big…but it will be awesome.
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