So, trying my hand at becoming a superhero at one of the most immersive and unique entertainment experiences in all the land got me thinking… what other super cool entertainment stuff is out there? What other sorts of fun things that we’re all used to have been touched by a lil’ bit of tech to make them that much more awesome? What sort of great techie party favors are out there? Well, I committed to doing the extremely hard task of finding out. You’re welcome interwebs – these are the sacrifices I make for you.
Superhero Yourself with 3DPlusMe
A few weeks ago I had a chance to go back to my homeland- New York City. There were sights, there were sounds… there was Broadway, oh was there Broadway. All in all, it was an awesome trip and I’m kinda mad I’m not there right now. While we were there, we stopped by arguably one of the most famous toy stores in the world – FAO Schwartz. I totally intended to get my Tom Hanks on and dance on the piano like in “Big,” but then something else caught my eye.
Now, we’ve all seen a bunch of talk about 3D printing and how it’s going to revolutionize the world as we know it. Everywhere you look, someone is talking about and doing everything from printing cars to human organs. But how is it going to impact us- the everyday lover of tech? 3DPlusMe is a company based out of Orem, Utah (yeah, I have no idea where that is) that’s taking the idea of 3D printing and making it more accessible to the masses. How you ask? By turning you into a SUPERHERO!!! Insert happy dance.
How’s it work? First, the attendant sits you down in a pretty sweet captain’s chair and, while you’re watching a 3 minute video full of explosions, helicarriers, and lasers, a modified Xbox kinect scans every square inch of your face. Once the scanning’s over, the attendant takes you to the other side of their super sweet machine and shows you what it would look like to take your face and put it on one of three characters – Captain America, Iron Man or Black Widow. For the record, I don’t look good in black leather and long hair. After selecting the character you want to be, your scanned face is sent to magical elves in a far away land (Orem, Utah) and the technicians there take a few weeks to perfectly meld your face to the character you’ve chosen. It takes about 7 weeks to get to you, and those were the longest 7 weeks of my life, but it’s worth it. Suffice it to say that when FedEx came to my doorstep, I may have jumped up and down like a school girl… and I’m not ashamed of that – not at all. I mean, how could I be? I’m now a superhero, see?!
Full-Body 3D Captures from Captured Dimensions
For those of you not into the whole superhero thing, there’s still some 3D printing love you can fall into. Captured Dimensions is a company based in Frisco, Texas that’s giving people a way to immortalize their loved ones using, you guessed it – 3D scanning and printing. Using a pretty impressive camera array, they’re able to capture every square inch of your body and store it digitally. It’s pretty cool how much detail they’re able capture. I don’t want to go into too much detail about how they do it, or what they’re able to do with it once it’s captured because we’re taking you behind the scenes very soon, and you should totally come back and visit us for that. Suffice it to say- you’re gonna love the stuff they’re doing and some of the companies they’ve worked with.
Custom Etch-a-Sketch Portraits
Ok, moving on to something that’s a little, um… sketch-y, but still totally cool. Do you remember the Etch-a-Sketch? For me, it was the first tablet I ever owned, and I loved it almost as much as the one I have now. The only problem? I could never do anything except draw (relatively) straight lines. No matter how I tried, my fingers just weren’t agile enough to make anything anyone would want to see. Sooo, I’d get frustrated and shake the thing until anything I tried to create disappeared into the void of that gray screen. I mean, I’d go places and see all these intricate drawings done on “the Etch” (that’s what the cool kids call them) and, honestly, started to think that they were all made up. I mean, NO one could actually make something amazing with them.
Well…I was wrong. Recently I was at a trade show and saw a pretty long line waiting for…something. While there I got the chance to meet Christoph Brown the “Fastest Etch-a-Sketch artist in the world.” Still a little skeptical, I sat down for him to do my portrait.
The whole process took less than 10 minutes from the time I sat in the chair until the time I had the finished product. I mean, I think it looks pretty much like me – what do you think?
Put Yourself in the Matrix
Ok, last up in the “party favors of the future” are the guys at Timestoppers. You know those shots in “The Matrix” where Neo seems to freeze in mid-air while the camera and the action rotates all around him? Pretty cool right? Well, that was actually accomplished by having dozens of still cameras surround the scene and then they all take a picture at the exact same moment in time. What you end up with is the feeling that time has, well…stopped. The team at Timestoppers brings that experience to live events. They set up their mobile camera rig with up to 80 DSLR cameras that surround you at every possible angle. There’s a count down and then – ACTION. In that moment, you can do whatever you want – jump in mid-air, throw a punch, fly through the air… whatever, and the moment is frozen. Even better, they provide you with a video clip afterwards that rotates around the scene you just created. Pretty cool, huh? I mean, it’s almost like being in “The Matrix”… you know, the first one, before it got weird and plot lines started making no sense. There is no spoon.
Currently, the guys at Timestoppers are just in Hawaii, but have plans to expand the license that they have across the country. For me, I’m just going to use it as another excuse to go to Hawaii… who’s coming with me?
Clearly the world of party favors has stepped it up, and this is just the very tip of the iceberg for what’s out there and what’s possible. I’d love to know what cool stuff you’re seeing at events, so feel free to send me ideas and examples of the awesomeness you’ve seen.
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