I know that sounds silly at best and egomaniacal at worst, and had you said that sentence to me a few weeks ago, it's very likely I would have agreed with you.
After all, like many of you, I have my own share of body image issues. I'm going bald; my head is shaped like a potato; my posture is less than good; my weight is my weight. While I might be extremely egotistical when it comes to my intelligence and the relative value of my opinion, I'm not exactly the type that fills up his Facebook with selfies.
I don't mention these things for sympathy, but to help inform how radical what I'm about to say is:
I have a nine-inch statue of myself, and it's one of the coolest things I own.
This statue exists because of a company called 3D Makery, located in Memorial City Mall. Using high-definition cameras, your body is scanned from head to toe, which is admittedly kind of weird. You stand on a platform and the cameras circle you, taking in every inch of you while you stand as still as possible and while strangers go about their shopping day. Twelve seconds later, a file of who you are on that day exists.
From there, you simply pick the size of the statue you want and a week or so later, you'll own a smaller, incredibly realistic version of yourself.
This is the miracle of 3-D printing. Many of us have heard that phrase, and maybe have a vague idea what it is, but we don't have any experience with it. 3-D Makery brings 3-D printing to the masses, easing them into what might be one of the most important technologies of the future.
The statues, known as shapies, are really the selfie taken to its logical conclusion. It's a static shot of you at a certain moment in time, sure, but there's something about holding yourself in your hands that is strangely gratifying. Seriously, I smile every time I look at my shapie, and I go entire days without looking in the mirror sometimes.
Shapies aren't exactly cheap, but in fairness, no tribute to yourself should be.
Are there other applications for the shapie outside of just having a memento of that one time you looked really great at the mall? I suspect these are going to be a huge hit with grandparents who live out of state. If they want pictures of the kids, they'll get on Facebook; the shapie is something different, something tangible, something that right and proper belongs on a mantle.
I also think this thing could be huge during con and/or Halloween season. I mean, if you're going to devote the time to building an awesome costume, why not turn that version of you into a statue?
(If I could get my dog to sit still for 12 seconds, I would absolutely get a shapie made of him.)
I understand all of this sounds weird. The first time I held a shapie of someone else in my hand, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. It seemed odd to me that such a thing could exist. But once you see you yourself, or even just someone you know, you get it.
And beyond just stroking my ego, my shapie makes me excited about the future of 3-D printing, and a world where I can make cool stuff at home. It makes me really want to get into 3-D printing as a hobby, just to see what else is possible.
But for now, I'm content to just have a tiny tribute to myself, flaws and all.