There’s a lot of people talking about 3D printing but [relatively] few have seen it in action or even touched a 3D printed object. During Mediaevolution’s The Conference in Malmo, participants could have their body scanned with a hacked Microsoft Kinect sensor, their own mini-figurine printed in a Makerbot and take it home.
The process, cleverly implemented by Barcelona based blablaLab, was quite straightforward and consisted of 3 steps
- The attendee stands on a pedestal, posing with whichever gesture he wants to be printed in. 3 hacked Kinect sensors map the model and send it to computer/screens where you can see the simplified model (the Kinect sensor has a low resolution, thus limiting the grade of detail of the final product).
- The operators of the makerbot printers tweak the design and send it to one of the 4 printers, which in more or less 15 minutes (depending on the number of items in queue) will produce a blue-ish figure made of biodegradable plastic.
- The curious attendee/model picks up the figurine and shows it to his geeky friends
The final product is a low-res model, due to the limited resolution of the Kinect. A higher resolution figure could be produced but it would require a more elaborate setup and would take way more time, thus making it un-practical for a conference where you have several participants wanting to have themselves printed. Despite this practical limitation, the final result is that people see a 3D printer in action and at the end of the process can have a piece of the coming future in their hands… which is way better than the typical swag you get at conferences!
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