Me... and my mini-me.
(Much thanks to IT World Canada videographer Sam Plante for the photos!)

Published: December 20th, 2016

If nothing else, Artec 3D certainly knew how to grab my attention.

Before I took off to San Diego to attend this year’s Adobe MAX conference, I received the following message in my inbox:

“Hi Eric,

“I saw that you’re attending the Adobe Max Conference next week and was wondering if you’d be interested in meeting with Artec 3D and creating a mini-me figurine,” PR representative Cybill Cempron wrote.

Reader, here at ITBusiness.ca we do our very best to only write about topics, events, or products of interest to businesses, and receive a great deal of messages that we ignore. But I challenge you to find the reporter willing to turn down an opportunity to receive a $160 figurine of themselves – free.

You will not.

Not a perfect likeness, but close enough.
It isn’t a perfect likeness, but close enough.

I wasn’t the only person Artec approached with its offer, of course, a fact to which anyone who saw the endless line surrounding the company’s full-body scanner during November’s conference could attest.

Unfortunately, I was too busy being scanned to actually shoot a picture of this thing during the day, so I had to rely on a shot posted elsewhere that was presumably taken before the chaos.

It was the perfect win-win situation: attendees were added to the company’s vast library of available bodies for movie, television, and video game crowd scenes – and were promised 3D-printed figurines based on the scans in return.

Believe it or not, there’s a legitimate reason for writing this story

Of course, snazzy office decoration or no, I told Cempron I could only guarantee Artec a shout-out in our event slideshow – hardly a difficult promise to keep since, as mentioned, it had the longest lineup at the conference.

But it turns out Artec 3D’s technology has more use cases beyond simply offering journalists six-inch vanity action figures – many more.

As company representative Anton Bosneaga told me, some of Artec 3D’s biggest customers are retailers who simply use its scanners to create a digital inventory of their products.

“For anyone used to shopping online, it’s become very natural to go on Amazon and click on the main image and rotate it around to have a look at the other side,” he explained. “It’s a vital need that we’re filling – many, many e-commerce companies use us to digitize their libraries of objects.”

Artec 3D’s Anton Bosneaga shows off a vase scanned by the company.

Nor are the massive full-body scanners the only devices in the company’s repertoire: In fact, the Eva device Bosneaga used to scan me was roughly the size of a handheld vacuum cleaner.

According to its website, Artec 3D’s products have been used in industries as varied as industrial design and manufacturing (where they can be used to rapidly design 3D printable parts), healthcare (where they have been used to design orthopedics, prosthetics, and custom wheelchairs), and education (by scanning objects for classroom study).

Or you can just order a 3D-printed “shapie” of yourself by visiting Shapify.me. They’re pretty cool too.

At least, everyone at the office seems to think so.

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