Cutting-edge printing technology: MediaMarkt offers 3D images in photorealistic quality for the first time

Ingolstadt, 27.02.2018: Be it a selfie, your beloved four-legged friend or your grandchild, 3D models for private use are all the rage and make extraordinary gifts for people of all ages. Now, MediaMarkt customers can have themselves turned into a figurine in superb photographic quality. Thanks to state-of-the-art 3D technology, the results are incredibly lifelike. This service is currently available at MediaMarkt in Ingolstadt, Nuremberg-Langwasser and Cottbus – and other stores are set to follow in quick succession.

More and more people are having ‘3D photos’ taken of themselves – for example as a present for relatives or a souvenir of a special day. Previously, however, the resulting miniatures faded over time and were a poor likeness. Moreover, the results were especially disappointing when it came to small details like tattoos. But now that’s all in the past, for at its stores in Ingolstadt, Nuremberg-Langwasser and Cottbus, MediaMarkt is providing a brand-new 3D scanning process. The revolutionary service ‘CAPPS.IT driven by Cuttlefish technology’ enables vivid, photorealistic 3D models.

The new technology is very easy to use. Scanning take less than a second and the quality of the 3D printing is comparable to a real photo. To develop this innovative system, the IGD Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research teamed up with 3D printing specialists Stratasys, Alphacam and DIG:ED.

The technique is based on the universal 3D colour printer driver Cuttlefish, which was developed by the Fraunhofer Institute. The printer software allows many different printing materials to be used simultaneously and accurately reproduces the geometry, colours and fine colour transitions of the original. After all, colour intensity and translucency are critical if the 3D model is to resemble the original and have a vibrant appearance. More than 360,000 different colours are available for printing itself, and the entire CMYK spectrum can be achieved by mixing different base materials.

New materials for durable figurines

This new 3D printing system is characterized by three important features. Unlike the polymer gypsum previously employed, which was easily damaged, the polycarbonate used in the new method is far more resistant to fracturing. In addition, it fades much more slowly than gypsum in response to sunlight or moisture. Thirdly, even translucent and transparent items such as spectacles and drinking glasses can be realistically printed with this new printing technology.

Scanning, 3D printing, collection

Having a figurine made of themselves is simplicity itself for MediaMarkt customers. They start by entering the 3D scanning booth through a door which is lockable from the inside. Instructions are shown on the screen installed inside the booth. Once customers are satisfied with their pose, they press a button to trigger the high-performance 3D scanner comprising 120 cameras. The resulting image is encrypted and sent away to be ‘developed’ and printed. And about two weeks later, the finished figurine can be picked up in-store.