Calling cards or visiting cards have been in use for at least 400 years. The footmen of aristocrats and royalty delivered elegant cards with the caller’s name and usually a design on them. In the 19th century, after photography was invented, calling or visiting cards–the French called them cartes de visite–would include a person’s portrait. In a sense, they were the first selfies, these self-curated presentations of one’s personality just as much as one’s appearance. Often, the cards would be quite elaborate, with photographs that resembled paintings.
Now visiting cards have been updated again, this time without the cards, as 24-year-old entrepreneur Siddharth Rathod and his uncle, Dr. Kamlesh Kothari, have created CloneMe, a 3D scanning and printing service based in Bangalore, India, that allows people to create their own 12-inch-high personal avatars–mini-selfies, really. Imagine 3D printing tiny replicas of yourself and presenting them to people you meet–your 3D carte de visite.
Of course, CloneMe isn’t all about navel gazing. It’s about preserving memories in 3D, whether of your family to send out as an alternative to Christmas cards, your pets, your soccer team, your new baby, and so on. Rathod and Kothari are visionaries who recognized the potential for 3D printing technology to gain favor not only in industry but in the domain of pop culture.
Rathod is an engineering graduate, with a degree in electronics and communications and he also earned master’s degree in innovation and entrepreneurship. He approached the idea from both the creative and the engineering sides.
“He was very keen,” says his bio on the CloneMe site, “on exploring the immense potential that 3D printing brings and wanted to incarnate the idea of [the] ultimate 3D selfie in India.”
Rathod’s partner and uncle, Dr. Kothari, comes from a very different background. He’s an oral and maxillofacial surgeon with more than 16 years of experience in the field. Dr. Kothari had seen how 3D technological had affected the medicine and knew it had important implications in other areas of life.
Clients can visit the CloneMe studio in the Mantri Square Mall in Bangalore–it seems that appointments are required–and get their 3D scans made. Once the scans are complete, CloneMe staff convert the scans to 3D models and make any necessary refinements to them before the 3D printing takes place using a ProJet x60 3D printer. Once completed, the 3D printed figurines are retrieved from the loose powder, cleaned, further refined, and ready for client pick-up.Customers have been reporting positive results, including Manoj Rajpal, a model who has found a unique use for his 3D printed likeness as a part of his modeling portfolio.
“I would never describe myself as a self-absorbed person. I genuinely found this concept very unique and helpful in the way it helps me to present myself as a model,” he explained. “Instead of taking off my shirt, I wanted to follow an ethical way of revealing my physicality,” he notes, as the 3D printed figure accurately displays his proportions and physicality–important traits in a model.
Prospective clients can check out the company’s Facebook page and can browse the FAQs on the CloneMe website and will soon be able to book a body scan online. The company’s clients include businesses and individuals and they are eager to promote their availability for special events like conferences, weddings, family reunions, and so on. As CloneMe grows–or clones itself!–it will surely add new showrooms and enhanced mobile access.
Have you used this new service? Let us know in the CloneMe Forum thread on 3DPB.com.