From his early days as a social worker until his current presidential days: you can’t deny U.S. president Barack Obama has really achieved something big. However, there was just one thing on his list that was still unfulfilled: the president had never been 3D printed before. Until recently, when a group of 3D specialists at the Smithsonian Institution scanned and printed the president.
Which officially makes him the first president to get 3D printed. Well, this is the story: during the first White House Maker Faire (June 18th), which was a technology event about new products and businesses, 3D specialists brought a 3D print of Obama’s bust and mold, as well as an Obama mask (to scare the hell out of you?).
Already earlier this year, the statuette and mask were made using a so-called Light Stage Face Scanner, which captured Obama’s face in high resolution. 3D scanners and SLR cameras were added to the game in order to ‘reconstruct’ his burst. The scans were used to create 3D models, which were the basis for the 3D prints.
To SmithsonianMag, one of the members of this team further clarifies the following about the process:
“[First], we 3D-scanned the face, ear to ear, at extremely high resolution, capturing details down to the pore level of the skin. We worked with a team from the University of Southern California, who use this technology to 3D-scan Hollywood actors. And then the Smithsonian 3D team used hand-held structured light scanners to scan the rest of the bust—the sides of the face, under the chin, the back of the head. We put these two data sets together in order to create the model we used for the 3D print.”
He also told the mag the American president was very curious about the technique. He seemed to be asking many questions during the process. However, as you probably know, in this day and age 3D printing still requires a lot of time, and even Obama couldn’t change that. More precisely, it costed more than 40 hours to 3D print all 5,000 layers of melted plastic. The 3D prints will be added to the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, where several images of each president are showcased. It will be added to a current museum collection on Obama.
And just like 3D printing is a very present-day technique, the effects the 3D prints of Obama had on visitors were also something to be called, er, modern. Apparently, lots of visitors took their chances to have a selfie with the plastic printed version of American president. Lame? Well – don’t blame them, the actual president wasn’t there.
Image credits: Smithsonian Institution.