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3D printing firm showcases capabilities at Innovation Park

| Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Visitors to Innovation Park, Notre Dame’s technology and entrepreneurship facility, may be puzzled by the large chamber apparatus set up near the entrance. This machine, an advanced 3D scanner owned by German startup Doob, aims to display the company’s innovative technology to members of the Notre Dame and South Bend communities and provide customers with an eye-catching and unconventional memento.

Until September 29th, Innovation Park is hosting Doob, a company specializing in 3D scanning, modeling and printing. The company is operating a pop-up store for their main consumer product: high-resolution 3D-printed figurines of people and pets. In addition to the scanner, lifelike miniatures of people and animals in a wide array of sizes and poses were displayed on a table, and a television screen walked viewers through the process of creating and printing the digital model. The figurines are printed in full color and delivered between two to three weeks after the scan, according to the company’s website.

“Everyone you’ll see here is someone who’s stepped inside one of our ‘Doob-licators’ — one of our scanning units — for a split second,” Jeff Williams, senior manager of business development for Doob USA, said. “Basically, it’s a room that has 66 different cameras that all fire simultaneously to capture a 360 degree image of that person, and from that, we’re able to take those 2D images and create a 3D model. Then we print these very photorealistic replicas of people in full color. This same technology can be used in digital applications, such as photorealistic avatars for virtual reality, for films, video games and other things like that.”

The method of 3D-modeling based on still images taken from different angles, known as photogrammetry, has previously been used by film and computer-generated imagery studios, but its high cost has prevented viable consumer applications, Doob USA CEO Michael Anderson said.

“What’s really special about Doob is our data processing software…,” he said. “What Doob has done is we’ve taken photogrammetry, but we created our own back-end processing that allows us to really automate that processing of the 2D images into the 3D file. So, where in the past, these sorts of scans and preparations would cost $3,000, we actually can incorporate these technologies into a consumer product that can be as cheap as under $100.”

Anderson stressed that while 3D figurines are company’s primary product now, he foresees a wide range of digital applications for Doob’s proprietary scanning and modeling capacity. The company has previously partnered with Sprite and Uniqlo for promotional campaigns and are currently partnering with virtual-reality company High Fidelity to create avatars for virtual environments.

“People are coming in and we’re taking this really high-resolution 3D scan, creating a digital file of that person,” he said. “The 3D-printed figure is just one application of that digital file. It’s really an important place for us to start because it’s so visual and emotional and engaging, and it’s easy to understand the application. From there, there’s a whole story to tell about where we’re gonna go next with the technology.”

Prices for the figurines start at $95, but Doob is offering a discount of up to 40% off for students who come to their temporary shop at Innovation Park. Anderson said he invites all students and members of the local community to come and see what the company has to offer and to take advantage of the discount.

“Obviously there are probably no bigger fans in the world than ND fans, and ultimately that’s what Doob is really about — whatever it is, whatever’s your passion, being able to capture that in 3D for a lifetime,” he said.

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About Andrew Cameron

Andrew is a senior from Orange County, California. He is an associate news editor at the Observer, and is majoring in Biological Sciences and English. While he has greatly enjoyed his time at Notre Dame, during the winter months he often wonders why he ever left the perennial warmth of Southern California.

Contact Andrew