Have you ever been to a museum and wondered how that masterpiece would look like in your living room? Looks like technology can help you find out (and possibly is opening up a completely new set of issues about copyright…).
A group of geeks (if I may call them this way) interested in 3D printing went to the Metropolitan Museum of Arts in New York City and scanned 34 sculptures using very sophisticated equipment, that is an app in their cell phone! Then they used that scanned image to print a replica of those artifacts, as shown in the picture here.
OK, no comparison with the original, but this is just because they used amateur 3D printer and plastic. The replica in terms of shape is really faithful to the original and by using a more sophisticated (read expensive) 3D printer able to use micro marble beads they would have obtained a perfect replica.
And we know very well that it is just a question of time before those sophisticated 3D printers price decrease to become affordable to the mass market. This is something completely new, no signs hanged on museums walls forbidding the duplication of statues showcased. Well, I guess it will change in the next few years. But you can bet it will be possible to find 3D representation of most masterpieces on the web ready to download on your 3D printer to get a nice replica.
And there is more! The Met scanned statues have been posted on the web and someone else started to create animations thus bringing those statues to life.
The world of atoms is going to be transformed in this decade and will become something completely different in the next decade as atoms and bits will be linked one another and it will be more and more difficult to separate one from the others. The seamless interaction of several technologies, scanners (in your cell phone), 3D printers, animation applications, mash up of content and services will create a new ambient and open up a wealth of business opportunities.
It is now natural to snap photos everywhere, it will become natural to scan objects and have them recreated in atoms (or bits through augmented reality) as we collect photos in album (or on computer) today.