3-D printing has made significant headway since its inception, in fact, the frequent implementation of the technology into multiple operations is being called “the third industrial revolution.” There doesn’t seem to be much you can’t scan and print in a 3-D printer.
Now, a new company called Beheld is taking it a step further allowing anyone to print custom 3D figurines of themselves. Started by Kat Kinkead and Industrial designer and Peter Weijmarshausen, former CEO of Shapeways —Beheld is intended to be an experience for users as opposed to just a process.
“We’re taking the components which already exist, and neatly tying them together to create a truly fun and memorable experience for consumers while simultaneously creating a turnkey experience for businesses. We’re placing scanners in an environment that makes them accessible to everyone,” Kinkead told TechCrunch.
The system works by allowing a user to enter a booth-sized scanner, where they are then meant to shrike whatever pose they choose. The scanner then takes numerous pictures of the body in 360 degrees, then stitches them together creating a 3D model that could make a nifty Christmas decoration or a gift for friends. The entire process costs $40.
Beheld’s eventual goal is to have scanning kiosks in malls and other public places, initially offering a “free trial” service which they believe will lead to significant upsell.
“Once the idea comes to mind that they, themselves, could actually be 3D printed, that’s when I would see the true excitement in people. Whether it was simply to have a 3D print of themselves or to use a 3D scan of their body to make items that were customized to fit them perfectly — that’s when the true sparks would fly,” said Kinkead
3D scanning Kiosks will soon be seen throughout America and Europe. Beheld has also created special effects that can make users disappear in a cloud of smoke or a burst of fireworks.
“Our mission is to take the happiness you felt in that moment and elevate it to the next dimension. Forever looking your best, now in 3D,” says the company website.
Beheld isn’t the only company pushing the limits of 3D printing, Swedish company Cellink is now printing body parts for use in the medical field.
"The goal [from the start] was to change the world of medicine - it was as simple as that," co-founder of the company Erik Gatenholm told the BBC. “And our idea was to place our technology in every single lab around the world.”
Using bio-ink, liquid into which human cells can be mixed and then 3D printed, Cellink is currently focused on printing cartilage and skin cells for use in testing drugs and cosmetics. Gatenholm’s company is expanding and recently opened an office in the US with hopes of expanding into that market.
This is a safe bet, considering that experts predict we could be printing functioning organs for implantation in the next few decades.