Images courtesy Alexx Henry
When you boot up GTA V, do you play as Michael, Trevor, or Franklin? Soon that may not matter, thanks to Alexx Henry's new "3D scanner for the masses," the xxArray, which uses 90 DSLR cameras to create a hyperreal, 22 gigapixel digital model of a person in seconds. A few lines of code later, Henry suggests, and the new, digital you can be hustling through Los Santos or any number of famous digital locales, using your own hands, feet, and face, accurate to the very pore.
But there's a lot more to the xxArray than fulfilling the awesome dreams of 11-35 year olds all over the world. "To me, that was always the obvious one," Henry, the founder and CEO of 3D capture company BlueVishnu, tells The Creators Project. "I’ve seen jaded reporters who have seen it all, turned into kids for a while as they fulfill a childhood dream. But the real powerful applications have yet to be discovered." Last year we saw a few glimpses of the potential these tools have to offer: Obama received the first 3D-scanned Presidential portrait, Marshmallow Laser Feast created a haunting 16K body scan called Duologue, Steven Sebring shot an interactive 3D fashion shoot with Coco Rocha, and CultLab3D began scanning ancient artifacts for digital preservation. Great minds are probing the edges of 3D scanning's potential, but Henry wants to accelerate the medium by gifting these high tech tools to the public.
As of today, he and his team are turning to Kickstarter to present the xxArray to developers and backers from 14 cities across the United States and Canada. “The goal of the tour is to literally bring this technology to the people, to offer them a portal into the 3D universe, and introduce them to their digital selves," Henry explains. Beyond bringing cutting edge tech to game develpers, this also means that Henry could be building the largest database of high-quality 3D avatars captured from human subjects in the world—with the permission of all parties involved, of course. "We’re not going to use your avatar without your having opted in," he assures us. "You’ll be in control. You have the right to your likeness."
Beyond the North American tour, Henry sees hi-res 3D scans giving all sorts of industries a facelift. "There are implications for entertainment, into health, fitness and apparel that can really make a difference in how you interact in the physical [world], plus a ton of things we haven’t even thought of," he says. "Most of how we’ll interact in a few years will be in 3D, whether it’s online in VR or in the already 3D real-life meatspace." The first subject he'd love to scan into this new world? Edward Snowden. "He represents a push for open information, internet freedom and empowerment of the individual. I like the symbolism there."
Lofty goals aside, short term benefits of backing Henry's Kickstarter include getting your own animation ready mini-you. If the campaign succeeds, you'll get your own hi-res body scan for as little as $99 when Henry and his team travel through your city, beginning on September 22. Visit the Kickstarter page to reserve your place on the tour and get more information on the xxArray's inner workings.