Science Visualization, a digital media company that specializes in getting the public interested in scientific advances, has partnered with ShapeShot® manufacturer Direct Dimensions to bring their line of 3D photo booths to museums, zoos, aquariums and other informal education venues.

The move is an effort to get young people interested in 3D modeling, scanning and printing technology via hands-on experience with ShapeShot booths.

"We need to do all we can to motivate kids with tools that get them excited about 3D technologies," said Michael Raphael, founder and CEO of Direct Dimensions.  "As a business person, I'm concerned that a lack of interest in STEAM careers could leave future generations in crisis."

ShapeShot booths produce 3D three-quarter models of a person's head and neck using four standard digital cameras mounted to a tripod.  The model is then printed as a tiny, keepsake bust.  The scanning process is automated and takes under two minutes from start to finish.  Customers can retrieve a printed, 2-inch version of their head in 30 to 40 minutes.  The scanning and printing processes can run simultaneously, allowing the booth to handle 30 customers per hour.

"3D imaging, models, and printing, have been available to specialists before, but with products like ShapeShot, now anyone can have a real 3D experience," said Christopher Sloan, president of Science Visualization.  "It is the photo of the future."

The ShapeShot was initially unveiled in 2012, when one was installed in New York City's MakerBot Store.  The booth takes your picture and uploads the 3D model to a website (in the case of MakerBot, it's Thingiverse). From there, you're given the option to print the model on site using the store's printer or go home and print it using your own.