Billing their technology as "the world's first volumetric printing service," the team at Looking Glass have developed a volumetric printing process over the course of the past year which they say is capable of bringing "any 3D scene from digital space into the real world in magazine-resolution color."
Led by Shawn Frayne, Looking Glass is driven by a team of engineers, inventors, and designers in Brooklyn and Hong Kong.
From a bioluminescent jellyfish to an amoeba magnified 100X or even from a boa constrictor consuming an elephant, it's 3D object printing with a holographic sort of twist. The creators say the volumetric 3D process they tout can bring millions of colors to life and boast a range from full opacity to complete transparency.
The results are, we must admit, pretty astonishing.
How is it possible? Ink. It's just ink. Made up entirely from hundreds of sheets of Lucite, each printed with a tiny slice of the 3D modeled object, the slices are stacked, put into a vacuum chamber, and injected with a refractive, index-matching fluid.
To start their Kickstarter Campaign, Looking Glass is offering seven versions of their product, each available in three sizes. If they meet the goal, all their backers will be able to vote on which additional items will enter their Cabinet of Curiosities.
One of the offerings is a volumetric print made directly from a CT scan of a human foot, and not just any foot, but one afflicted with a 'Lisfranc' injury. For those of you challenged when it comes to podiatry-related concerns, that particular malady is characterized by the dislocation of the 2nd through 5th metatarsals.
Ouch. And mighty cool.
If you'd like something that stays in the medical realm, you can also receive a piece derived from the work of Dr. Scott Camazine. This one is a realistic drawing of the full set of internal organs of a human being. The lungs are even printed with a touch of translucency because, well, translucency!
Want something a touch more sinister? Then opt for the Fly Amanita (Amanita muscaria). It's a dead-ringer, as it were, for the world's most famous killer mushroom.
Or maybe you'd like something a little less deadly and translucent? Then you can select the World's Most Standard Man. This one is a composite created by merging pictures of 190,000 men which the Chinese Academy of Sciences collected over the course of a decade of individuals who fit the bill.
"He's a guy, he's Han Chinese, he is 28 years old and there are 8,999,999 others out there that look a lot like him," say the creators.
If this Kickstarter campaign is successful – and we're really pulling for them to make the grade – the team at Looking Glass will take the proceeds and transform their prototype system into "a full production volumetric printer capable of printing different size Looking Glasses in millions of colors." They'll also collaborate with (and pay!) several of their artist and scientist friends to help make more amazing specimens.
For a $75 commitment to the project, you'll receive a medium-sized piece of awesome, and for $5,000, the team will come to your party, scan everyone there, and then print out some really disturbing versions of your whole entourage.