It was a rainy day in NY so I wore my “schmatta” dress and ran downtown to take a quick stroll through the 3D Print show. By the end of my visit I’d been body-scanned, and sent off my like-ness to become reality at the 3D printing factory. A few days and $79 (ouch) later, I held my own 3D replica, 3-inches tall, in my hand.
My scan didn’t require any multi-thousand dollar body scanning equipment. It was done using the widely available Xbox Kinect camera. The software, from Shapify.me, is downloadable and available to anyone with the Xbox.
Upon download, simple commands instruct you to stand a few feet from the camera and make a slow 360 degree turn, allowing the Kinect camera to take a series of seven snapshots of your body. Once scanned, the software gets to work stitching together and algorithmically creating your 3D model. You can view your software model on the Shapify screen in about 5-8 minutes after you’ve been scanned. Sculpteo, the 3D printing service Shapify uses, sends you your mini-me via UPS.
Enterprising 3D wannabes can download the Shapify Pro tool kit ($999) and start showing up at parties, conferences and anywhere else narcissists might clamor for a personalized 3D souvenir. Caution: Body scanning is a less than perfect art; good lighting and a carefully placed Kinect camera all help produce a high quality result. My first scan needed to be redone because I looked leg-less in black boots.
Shapify is the consumer division of Artec and the company provides tools for professional 3D scans as well. My scan was a bit short of fine detail of my face, and clothing, but the proof of the pudding is that my social media circles went wild when I showed them how I could hold a replica of my own self in my hands.
Robin Raskin is the founder of Living in Digital Times. Living in Digital Times will be hosting several major events and conferences throughout 2014.