Forget 3D movies and television, the real future is 3D printing! It's not cheap, yet, but the folks at Sculpteo
are trying to pioneer a new way to create truly personalized items from ceramic and other materials.
Naturally, they have an app for that, and it supports the iPad as well. It lets you choose from an existing collection of designer-created 3D printable objects or create a personalized item like a mug with your child's silhouette built-in or an iPhone case with your custom message. I'm tempted to say the custom images or text are embossed, but that's technically inaccurate. The item is crafted in 3D with your edits. You have to see it to understand, and you can download the app for free and play with it.
Their technique allows them to create items that could not be built using any other method and the results are mesmerizing.
The actual items are created in their headquarters and shipped to you. This is not a MakerBot style setup, but there's none of the overhead or fuss that would require. Just shop, customize and order. Items start around $40 but can go as high as $500 or more, depending on the size and customizations.
Sculpteo and designers from Particule 14 have joined forces at Milan Design Week to launch an entirely new generation of objects. Sculpteo calls this On Demand Manufacturing or Cloud 3D printing technology where unique objects can be manufactured, right from the conception stage to production.
I placed an order for a mug and I'll post an update when it arrives.