I previously reported several times about Shapeways, a spinn-off from the Lifestyle Incubator of Royal Philips Electronics, located in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The company provides 3D-printing capabilities to everyone.
Part of their mission is to provide users a set of toolkits that allow also the average consumer to create 3D objects without any CAD or programming skills. Today, Shapeways has introduced their so called "Photoshaper", a service that allows anyone to turn digital photographs into 3D printed objects.
Users can logon to Shapeways.com, upload any photo and order their creations directly from Shapeways. Now you not only can see your girl friend in your wallet when you are on a business trip, but touch her in 3D!
“Shapeways really makes 3D creation fun, easy and available for everyone,” commented Peter Weijmarshausen, CEO of Shapeways is quoted in a press release. “With Photoshaper we have empowered the average consumer to tap into technologies that used to be out of reach. In doing so Shapeways redefines online consumerism with direct access to unique and individually customized products that were never available before.”
Based on the contrast of the picture (light and dark) the Shapeways Photoshaper automatically creates a depth-layered 3D object that can be printed by Shapeways with the latest in 3D printing technology (I believe with a little bit of photoshopping before uploading the pictures, results can be improved a lot). The 3D photo will be produced and delivered globally within 10 days and costs between $40-50 (USD), including shipping. For best results. use a 1.5 megapixel or better picture. The size of the 3D photo is 13cm to 9cm (5.11” to 3.5”) landscape and portrait.