It was just a matter of time as many tech giants, such as Google, Apple and Microsoft are already investing heavily in 3D printing technologies. Now Facebook has also joined the crowd with a new service that will enable anyone to 3D print a statuette of any of their active Facebook friends.
According to sources inside the social network, the service will take advantage of Oculus Rift’s 3D visualization technology to rapidly create a 3D model file out of any photo in a Facebook account. All you have to do is select an object or a person in a photo and the software will immediately create the relative 3D file. Users will then be able to download the 3D printable STL and OBJ format file to 3D print locally or send to a 3D printing service.
To launch this new “3D Print Your Friends” service, Facebook is partnering with HP. The hardware giant is going to launch its first, professional grade, multi-color and muti-material 3D printer later this year and saw this as the ideal opportunity to promote it. Through a new, dedicated online 3D printing service, HP will provide free, full color 3D prints of all files sent through the “3D Print Your Friend” feature on Facebook.
After a time of great hype, consumer 3D printing has stumbled into some hard times. However professional 3D printing services, both B2B and B2C, are booming. Now new generation of 3D Scanning (Google Tango and HP Sprout), 3D visualization systems (such as Oculus Rift but also those by Sony PlayStation, HTC and especially Microsoft’s Hololens) along with a new generation of high performance 3D printing technologies (such as Google funded Carbon 3D and HP’s MultiJetFusion) are making the blending of physical and virtual 3D realities more accessible than ever.
Facebook is 3D printing for real
“We’ve also been developing new technology that will make video in virtual reality work even better. 360 video on Facebook is the first step — it allows you to look around and feel like you’re present while watching a video, whether it’s surfing in Tahiti or exploring the surface of Mars.”, the Facebook team said in a statement. “Already, millions of people watch 360 videos on Facebook every day. More than 20,000 have been uploaded, with hundreds more added daily. And we’ve only just begun to explore the possibilities with this format.”