"It is a pretty uncanny feeling to hold a tiny version of yourself or a loved one," says Jordan Williams, president of Captured Dimensions, a new Texas-based company that uses 3-D body imaging and 3-D printing to create miniature replicas of customers' bodies. "It can feel a bit creepy at first, but ultimately, most people think it's pretty awesome."
While we've reported on a similar idea in the past (featuring examples in Japan and Germany), Williams's startup represents the first of its kind in the U.S.--a brick and mortar shop dedicated to letting people get 3-D printed, photo-realistic replicas of themselves, their loved ones, and their pets (along with other 3-D modeling services, like 3-D scanning of sculptures or museum artifacts, and asset creation for video games).
The process is simple. Show up, get your picture taken by the studio's impressive array of cameras, and Captured Dimensions turns that image data into a 3-D model, which is sent to an offsite printer and extruded as a statuette. You pick the size (between three and 15 inches, depending on your height and budget). The studio ships it to you within a month. The figures cost between $445 and $2,295 (a price Williams acknowledges is expensive in his FAQs and hopes to lower).
"This technology is still in its infancy," Williams says. "I'm convinced that prints are going to become increasingly detailed and vibrant as the technology progresses. Our prints five years from now will probably make today's look like mere trinkets. That doesn't make it any less amazing today, however. I think people get that."
But the high price could be worth it to capture one-of-a-kind moments, in his opinion. "I was so fortunate to get to capture my daughter in 3-D shortly after her birth. Now, my wife and I will always have those files and that model to look back on."