3D printing is one of those technologies that is no doubt set to become as common as the household toaster in years to come, with many citing it as the next big disruptive technology to impact our lives.
Take up has been restrictive so far, due mainly to cost and the quality of output at affordable levels for businesses outside of design prototypes, however, this is changing at a rapid pace.
As with all innovative, game changing concepts, marketers are eager to latch onto possible opportunities to wow consumers with the new tech.
A digital installation based in Barcelona from earlier this year is a great example of it in action.
A somewhat chaotic set up of customised software utilised the power of three Xbox Kinect units (in order to gather 360 degree visual data), Meshlab point constructor software and the openFrameworks and openKinect libraries, to develop a unique take on the traditional human statues that dominate the Rambla strip.
Despite the software heavy set up, the concept pitched to passersby was relatively simple. Strike a pose in the designated space and the Xbox Kinect’s would convert your image into a 3D printed model – your own, highly personal, souvenir.
The little yellow figurines spewed out by the RepRap machine (the particular 3D printer in question) are simplistic to say the least, but in many ways that is not the point. It’s the ability to capture a fleeting moment in physical form – unique to each person - that has potential here, making it an emotive and tangible accessory for future brand activations.