This year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 was full of ways to up your selfie game. Selfie sticks abounded, sure, but I also saw two different drones designed to snap aerial selfies of their land-bound pilots. And for people who wanted to add a new dimension to their selfies: the Artec Shapify booth.
The size of a large closet, the Shapify booth is equipped with infrared scanners that can scan you in just a few seconds, then produce a high-quality 3D model in about seven minutes. That model can then be 3D printed into a full-color figurine of you in the exact position that you were in the booth.
Palo Alto, California-based Artec Group manufactures professional-quality handheld 3D scanners such as the Artec Eva or Artec Spider, which are used in fields such as archaeology, plastic surgery and 3D printing to produce highly accurate 3D models. But these scanners cost upward of $10,000, far more than the average person would spend.
Enter the Shapify booth. Artec developed them to be installed in malls, amusement parks, museums and other places with lots of foot traffic. The first booth was already installed in the Dayton Mall in Ohio. Another was on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this month, where I checked it out first-hand.
The booth consists of a stationary platform surrounded by vertical banks of sensors. To get a "3D Selfie," you stand on the platform, strike a pose (I did my best Wonder Woman power stance), and the sensors rotate around you to capture a 360-degree image, and turn it into a 3D model. The process only takes about 12 seconds.
I was told I had to take off my glasses and earrings, because the booth would be unable to capture their shape. If I had kept them on, they told me, it would look like I had glasses- and earrings-shaped tattoos on my skin.
After the scan, the 3D model file is transferred to a computer, where the file is automatically smoothed and prepped for 3D printing in less than 15 minutes. For comparison, 3D models taken with a commercial 3D scanner can often require hours of post-scanning prep, smoothing out jagged edges and reconstructing things like hair and accessories.
People who are scanned in the Shapify booth can then purchase a full-color 3D-printed figurine of themselves that will look almost exactly like a miniaturized version of themselves in the pose they struck in the booth. These figurines are printed on a Projet 660, a high-quality 3D printer that builds models using colored powders.
Users can also separately purchase their 3D model's files, so they can print or modify them on their own 3D printers.
Artec isn't the only company launching the "3D selfie" business. At New York Comic-Con 2014, 3D printing company Forge Studio set up a similar booth where they scanned cosplayers who wanted to memorialize their elaborate costumes.
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Jill Scharr is a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she regularly covers security, 3D printing and video games. You can email Jill at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @JillScharr and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.