Whenever you hear someone pronounce “Print is dead,” point to the growing number of 3D printing options and remind them that, in fact, printing – no longer just to paper – remains an incredible human invention. Or you, perhaps, you can point to the Trimensional iPhone app, which thanks to its latest update, now lets you scan and then print a 3D model of your face.
Trimensional describes itself as a 3D scanner for iPhone, and before you make plans to use the app to scan and print all manner of 3D models, it’s worth noting that the app only works with faces right now. Trimensional uses the screen and the front-facing camera on an iPhone to detect patterns of light reflected off your face in order to build a 3D model.
An update to the app that hit the App Store this week lets you send a movie or animated GIF file of the rotating 3D model to friends. And with a $5 in-app purchase (the app itself is a dollar), you can send the scan to a 3D printer. “Within about half an hour, ” says Grant Schindler, a research scientist at Georgia Tech, “you can go from scanning yourself to having a physical copy.”
OK, I don’t actually own a 3D printer, but I want one, particularly if, as this app certainly portends, someday I’ll be able to snap photos with my iPhone and then print the image as a three-dimensional object.