A 3D Mini-you Makes The Perfect [Geek] Conference Souvenir

September 24, 2011

in Gadgets / SWAG


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

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

An attendee posing

The figurine being printed inside the Makerbot

That's me, pretending to be taking a photo with my camera

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