Kat Kinkead and Peter Weijmarshausen met at their old company, Shapeways. Weijmarshausen recently stepped down as CEO and was looking for something cool to do when he and Kinkead realized that the most popular application of 3D scanning and printing was in 3D figurines. These tiny action-figure-like representations were wildly popular print subjects back at Shapeways but they were notoriously difficult to capture and print.
Now, thanks to improvements in scanning, color printing, and software, they’re surprisingly easy. Thus Beheld was born.
Kinkead, the CEO, has an MFA in industrial design and has worked in the 3D printing industry for half a decade. She helped build 3D printing procedures for places like Michael Kors and they founded Beheld in January 2017. They’ve raised a small amount of angel funding.
The system is simple: you enter a booth-sized scanner and strike a pose. The scanner takes multiple pictures of your body in 360 degrees and then stitches them together, creating a 3D model that you can share with your friends for free. If you want to print yourself, however, it will cost you about $40.
“What separates us from others in the industry is: We are making 3D scanning an experience,” said Kinkead. “We’re taking the components which already exist, and neatly tying them together to create a truly fun and memorable experience for consumers while simultaneously creating a turnkey experience for businesses. We’re placing scanners in an environment that makes them accessible to everyone.”
The vision is to have 3D scanning kiosks in malls and other high-trafficked places. Because the service is free to try the pair think that they’ll get quite a bit of upsell in the process.
It wasn’t hard convincing users that they wanted to scan themselves. It wasn’t even hard to convince them to pay a few dollars for a 3D print.
“Once the idea comes to mind that they, themselves, could actually be 3D printed, that’s when I would see the true excitement in people. Whether it was simply to have a 3D print of themselves or to use a 3D scan of their body to make items that were customized to fit them perfectly — that’s when the true sparks would fly,” said Kinkead.
The team plans to roll out 3D scanning kiosks in spots across America and Europe. They’ve also created special effects that can make you appear and disappear in fireworks and clouds of smoke, the better to please the Snapchat generation. After all, who wants a selfie when you can make yourself appear and disappear into a cloud of particles?