This should be no surprise, but I’m a Star Trek fan. I grew up on the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D Galaxy Class Starship, so future technologies like warp cores, transporters, and replicators are familiar to me, which very well could be part of the reason why I can so casually speculate on when we’ll have Star Trek style replicators. Think me crazy, but you’d have to think the same of Scott Harmon, Vice President, Corporate Development at 3D Systems, who recently discussed the 3D printing/replicator similarities with an Ensign at StarTrek.com during a conversation relating to an upcoming Star Trek-oriented Cubify app, saying “Regarding the replicators, this is a great analogy. Our technology is called a 3D printer. It does a really good job of replicating shape and color. It cannot, at least today, replicate materials like food or like Earl Grey Tea, although you may see a chocolate 3D printer coming down the line.” He’s right.
The app, which will be in the Cubify and StarTrek.com stores, will put your face on printable Star Trek crew member figurines. You’ll send two pictures of your face, choose if you’d like to be the brash Kirk or logical Spock, and then Cubify mails you 6-7 inches of yourself, as if you actually have the discipline to be in the United Federation of Planets. The app will start with only characters of the original series, but characters from The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine will be added later. I wonder if they’ll ever update the app to put our faces on alien humanoids like Klingons and Ferengi; I’m sure some would find special capitalistic inspiration with a their-faced Ferengi figurine on the dashboard serving as a constant reminder of the Rules of Acquisition. The statuettes will come out of the ZPrinter TM 650, a very high resolution machine that can achieve 390,000 colors, so they’ll be near photorealistic.
Harmon says that there are plans to add features such as customizing accessories and ships. Okay, I’ll be able to put a greenhouse on the Defiant and put it on my desk? Sold.
You can read the interview here ; apparently the service was supposed to be shown at CES, but I can’t find any coverage of it, so if you have any, please share.