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More people flock to have their 'mini-me' printed

By Xu Junqian and Jiang Yinan | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-18 16:53

More people flock to have their 'mini-me' printed

3-D images produced by Epoch Time Machine, a photography studio dedicated to 3-D printing. It is the first studio of its kind in Shanghai. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

Having a profile sketched, a sculpture done, or a studio photograph taken is not in vogue anymore. The latest trend is having a 3-D image of oneself printed.

With the widespread and increasing affordability of 3-D printing technology, young and old people in China are showing a spike in interest to have a 3-D picture taken for the price of an iPad Mini.

"People are curious and the response has been overwhelming," says Le Meihao, the co-founder of Epoch Time Machine, a photography studio dedicated to 3-D printing. It is the first studio of its kind in Shanghai.

Opened in early May, the less than 40-square-meter shop sits on the second floor of a rather lonely shopping mall in the city's People's Square. It has printed at least 40 3-D photographs or "mini people" in the past month. Every day, scores of curious people visit the cramped room, to have a closer look at the end product, to ask about the cost and have their "mini-me" printed.

"We only have the capacity to print two or three models every day. That's the main problem we face in growing our business," says the 27-year-old Le, a Shanghai native and a finance graduate.

Inspired by a Japanese 3-D printing shop, Le, together with three friends, invested 1.2 million yuan ($194,000), mostly sponsored by their parents. They call their investment "the future of industrial manufacturing".

One of the partners, 26-year-old Shao Qizhe, has also been a student of Behrokh Khoshnevis, an engineering professor from the University of Southern California, who has figured out a way to print a house.

The process to "print a person" is simple, or so it seems.

The person stands on a special plate which looks like a Lazy Susan, against a green background. As the plate rotates, two scanners take a full-length scan of the subject, one catching details and the other the general picture. The images are immediately sent to a computer and processed before being printed out using the imported ZPrinter 650, the biggest investment of the shop, according to Le.

More people flock to have their 'mini-me' printed

More people flock to have their 'mini-me' printed

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