As a world-saving technology, 3D printing has a lot of potential. You can use it to make bikes, food, bionic arms, clean water technology, and prosthetic beaks for eagles. And now, in by far the least genuinely useful 3D printing application we’ve ever written about on Grist List, you can use it to make tiny models of yourself and your loved ones.
The Omote 3D photo booth is taking reservations for a limited-time engagement in the Harajuku area of Tokyo. The site is in Japanese, so even with Google Translate it’s a little hard for me to be completely certain that what I’m looking at isn’t an elaborate hoax. (For instance, Google translates the name of the process as “front birth canal photographic Kang,” which … cannot be right.) But the claim, at least, is that someone at the pop-up photography and printing store scans you with a handheld scanner thingy, loads all the information into the computer, tweaks colors and textures, and prints out a figurine that’s between four and eight inches tall.
Prices range from $264 for a single four-inch figurine to $529 for the eight-inch, although you can get group discounts. (If you rope in two friends, your four-inch figures are only $201 each — a bargain!) I honestly have a hard time believing this is really an actual thing, but the fact that the thought “$201 is actually pretty reasonable for this” flitted across my mind, however briefly, suggests there’s a market. And maybe we can use the profits to fund more of those useful bikes, water cleaners, and eagle beaks!