The idea of 3D printing has long been thought of as something that can produce prosthetics. As we have previously written about, we could be as close as five years away from printing human cartilage to prepare airways.
Using technology including 3D printing, the Open Hand Project aims to make advanced prosthetics more readily available, giving people individual metal fingers.
Away from medical science, Ivan Pope, founder of Shapie Me, will discuss 3D in marketing at the Future of Digital Marketing conference on Friday.
His company is behind the 3DME machines that can be found in many Asda supermarkets.
These allow customers, in pre-booked 15 minute appointments, to strike a pose and hold it for 12 seconds, review up to three attempts on a screen and then have a 3D miniature model of themselves made up and sent to you a few days later in the post, for £49 per figurine.
This seems an exciting development to us at Infigo, because it is an extension of the personalisation on demand software that we offer to many industries.
We can see the potential: while, in this instance, customers have to visit a supermarket (not all of the chain’s outlets have the machines), this would be an opportunity for you to record your special occasion, whether it be for a wedding, family gathering, a graduation ceremony or, as in the case of the advert for ASDA, a girl in her ballet outfit who has a landmark to celebrate.
Elsewhere, various websites allow you to upload your images and choose either to have your photograph of your special occasion reproduced in a 3D fashion, or even to have just your faces imposed on pre-existing characters. So you can become Star Trek characters or sports stars.
This particularly excites us at Infigo because we have done much to improve various industries who want personalisation on demand.
We have worked closely with ASK Print, who found that photographers were highly impressed with our MegaEdit software at The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers Convention.
Gary Keens, the managing director, said he believed the technology would quickly become the internet’s leading online photo book and print system. It is all run from the cloud and, he said was “the world’s best online book building system”.
MegaEdit, with its ability to retain a company’s or, for example, a photographer’s branding, speeds up the approval process because everything is edited in the cloud, so is time and cost efficient.
Our web-to-print technology also went down well at the Packaging Innovations Exhibition and has the opportunity to revolutionise that industry, through the personalisation or variable data element.
Traditionally, companies have had to do print runs of, for example, 100,000 breakfast cereal packets. Now, the technology exists to make as many variations as you wish within that run, at a few touches of a button, so that potentially packages could be digitally printed to accommodate several variations, allowing a brand owner to track those variations through QR codes and discover what works best with the customer.
Another company we work with, Boxglo, allows its customers to personalise chocolates using the Catfish web-to-print software.
We see MegaEdit also being used by estate agents, come up with photobooks for individual properties, or any industry which uses variable data.
So, as one of the companies selling 3D printed figurines says as its sign off “Don’t limit your imagination”. With our interest in personalisation, we are keen to keep track of developments in 3D and all forms of digital printing.