In an instant, I find myself within a workshop studio full of cameras, 3D printers, plastic objects, and tools. In front of me stands 90 Nikons wired together through USB stands ready to shoot photo arrays of whoever steps inside the cylindrical container. Those who do will be captured in a stunning high resolution form. Once digitized, the character or avatar of the person can be inserted into their favorite worlds and experience them in an entirely new way. Exploring game levels, movie scenes, and virtual reality realms are all possible once someone steps inside.
This system emerged out of the mind of Alexx Henry, a photographer and director with over 15 years of experience, and his team of creatives who work together to create what is essentially a monumental shift in recording someone’s likeness.
Instead of calling this an ordinary 3D capture platform, Alexx likes to think of it as more of “a portal that captures you into an incredibly rich 3D universe; a universe that is currently being developed in parallel by some of the most creative minds and innovative companies on earth.”
After going through the process myself, I have to agree. This is not just the “selfie of the future” but rather a way to transport a person’s body into computerized realities, allowing them alter themselves in any way they want. It is like looking in a mirror and watching yourself transform into whatever you desire.
The beauty of xxArray is that the avatars start their transformations from a real life representation of the individual. This adds to the sense of being immersed in a virtual world (aka the feelings of presence) because alterations begin at a familiar form. Morphing into a new character, putting on virtual clothes, or even evolving into a new species becomes easier when the person knows that their old “boring” body can turn into anything from there.
To see what is possible here, check out their recent Kickstarter campaign video below.
“Virtual Reality, 3D printing, AR, whatever crazy witchcraft Magic Leap is working on, the list goes on… This is the beginning of an incredible new era.” – Alexx Henry
As flashy as this looks, this type of technology is not a recent occurrence though. Systems like this have been capturing actors and actresses in the movie industry for ages. The difference here is that the cost of replication just dropped to affordable levels that are finally within reach of millions of people. No longer is this process amounting to thousands of dollars which can only be purchased by large corporations and production studios, but it can be transacted for less than a few hundred bucks instead.
Although this may seem like an expensive proposition, it is not; especially if one looks at the range of possibilities here. In a fraction of second, a person can be digitized in such a way that they may never have to pay for another copy again. Not to mention, the resolution that these avatars come in are spectacularly photorealistic. This is top-tier technology at an affordable cost, which is surprising to find in what is still considered “the early days of VR.”
However, as fantastic as low cost, high quality avatars sounds, the developers of the system still need help getting the technology out to the masses. Because of this, they have set up their Kickstarter campaign and plan to make 3D avatars available to as many people as possible. They will take the xxArray on tour to locations all across the United States including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Orlando, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and more. Backers who support the campaign and attend the events will receive full body avatars which they can then insert into virtual realities, 3D print, or whatever else they want.
Add-ons are also available. Those who pay extra can get a 6″ bust of themselves printed in sandstone with a bronze finish, making for a nice statuesque work of art. Multi-colored 3D printed “portraits”, figurines, bookend pieces, and even an epic “Presidential Bust” can be purchased as well. Plus, xxArray will provide developer kits, early access APIs, and additional add-ons for those who pick up those options before they are all gone. Snatch these up now while you still can!
For more information about the Kickstarter, click the link above and be sure to visit their website as well. Check out their Kickstarter video below too, and follow them on Twitter @xxArray too!