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figurines on a camera (Hemera Technologies/Getty Images)
figurines on a camera (Hemera Technologies/Getty Images)

Small Business Briefing

The latest photo booth turns out 3-D figurines - of you Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz .

New 3-D photo booth creates pint-sized reproductions of you

As those wood-panelled, orange-curtained photo booths of bus stations and shopping malls continue to vanish – thanks in part to the advent of low-cost mobile apps with fun and fancy effects – a new type of photo booth has emerged, turning the entire idea of the ‘photo booth’ on its head.

A Japanese creative lab called Party has invented a process to take pictures of guests and convert them into 3-D plastic figurines. The group is showing off its tiny creations at a pop-up exhibit called Omote 3D Shasin Kan.

The exhibit runs from Nov. 24 until Jan. 15, but if you happen to be in Tokyo, and you think it would be supercool to have your own pint-sized reproduction made, don’t get too excited: Party’s already booked solid and there’s no waiting list.

How does it work? Guests are advised in advance to wear solid-coloured clothing, not ‘fluffy’ or ‘mesh’ materials, and stand still for 15 minutes while the 3-D scanner covers their bodies. The data – which include everything from hair colour and clothing texture to body details – are captured in the computer. Then the 3-D colour printer creates a model figurine. Watch how it works here .

What do you get? There are three types of figurines: small (10 centimetres), medium (15 cm.) and large (20 cm.). They take about a month to make.

How much do the figurines cost? Unlike the photo booth strips of yesteryear, which cost a few quarters, these babies will set you back several hundred dollars. Depending on the size, you’re looking at $260 to $500 apiece.

What do you do with it? Tech blog Technocular raises a good point: what do you do with the min i-you? “Do you build it the miniature dollhouse of your dreams...?” What you do with your figure is, of course, up to you. And if that involves creating a shrine for it, or displaying it in a shadow box for all of your friends and family to see, that’s your choice to make.

The idea of a 3-D photobooth is novel indeed, but as the prices of 3-D printers and scanners continue to drop, it’s likely that we’ll see a lot more products created this way in the marketplace. In fact, companies are already capitalizing on trend: According to Dezeen magazine, Makerbot has opened a photo booth in its New York City store, offering customers the chance to print out a model of their own faces. Also, Toronto’s Hot Pop factory makes funky geometrical jewelry out of its owners’ apartment and Shapeways of New York is making everything from iPhone cases to Christmas tree ornaments.


Webinar: Marketing Canadian manufacturers to the world

On Dec. 12 from 1 to 2 p.m., business owners, company executives and marketing professionals are invited to participate in Marketing Canadian Manufacturers to the World – Dollars and Sense . Small and medium sized Canadian enterprises will have an opportunity to learn firsthand from ‘Comtek Advanced Structures’ how they grew their overseas business with cost-effective marketing strategies from B2B marketing specialists – The Mezzanine Group, led by Lisa Shepherd. Full details on the webinar can be found in today’s press release.

Hit the City

Humber’s College’s Bachelor of Commerce Tourism and Hospitality Management department has organized Hit the city, a summit series of speakers for managers, owners and up-and –oming business professionals in the tourism and hospitality industry. The event takes place on Dec. 3 from 3 to 6 p.m.in Mississauga, Ont.

Holiday lunch

On Dec. 4, from 11:15 a.m. to 2 p.m., celebrate another year at the Vancouver Board of Trade’s annual holiday lunch and year-end media wrap up.


Why your brand needs to zoom in on Instagram

As consumers use the photo-sharing service in growing numbers, there’s opportunity for companies to engage with them in innovative ways.


Plus-sized fashion line struggles to sell

After a year in business, full-figured clothing startup Allistyle finds itself frozen out by Canadian retailers, but with America’s Top Model winner Whitney Thompson on board, and more promising reception in the U.S. Should its focus be south?

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