Ever thought of blowing money on a painted portrait or a professional photograph of yourself? Well, now there's another option: 3D-printed miniature statues.
Kristina Neurohr and Timo Schaedel of Hamburg, Germany, offer the hyper-realistic 6- to 14-inch miniatures through the startup they call Twinkind. The process, after all, is about producing a mini-you.
The two were inspired to open their business by Omote, a pop-up shop that "billed itself as the world's 3-D photo booth," according to Wired Magazine. By the time Omote closed, Wired Magazine reports, "the duo was already hard at work figuring out the technical side of their own operation." Schaedel's work as a director helped him and Neurohr figure out how to reproduce Omote's effects and turn its handheld 3D-photographic machinery into a device that could scan customers "in the blink of an eye."
Even putting printer capability and cost aside, it's easy to see why Neurohr and Schaedel like their statues small: In a piece she wrote for the Twinkind website, art historian Elizabeth Rudolf suggests that small figurines are less likely than their life-size counterparts to stumble into the uncanny valley -- where too-lifelike objects become creepy.
The miniatures come with limitations, of course. Those modeling are asked not to wear silk, highly polished leather, tulle, chiffon or high-frequency patterns, for example, as these are likely to screw up the scanners. Moreover, the only Twinkind studio is in Hamburg -- which may make it difficult for all but the most globe-trotting Americans to get themselves immortalized.
Still, if you're not satisfied with Makerbot's pixelated 3D-printed portraits -- and you're willing to go out of your way to obtain something better -- the price for Twinkind's figurines may be right.