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The Future of Retail is Personalization – Isaac Katz on 3D Printing

3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the retail industry – Isaac Katz, Electronic Art Boutique

Today’s retail world is one-size-fits-all, said Isaac Katz at the Inside 3D Printing show in San Jose, whereas tomorrow is all-for-one.

Isaac Katz is a pioneer in simulation-based design and in its application to create physical products via 3D printing technology. He presented at Inside 3D Printing San Jose about The Future of Retail. (Related: Isaac Katz also presented at Inside 3D Printing Chicago earlier this year)

In Mr. Katz’s store of the future, personalization makes the difference. Today’s retailers allow consumers to customize aspects like size and color, but tomorrow’s retailers can employ 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies to get the perfect fit and the shape and design the consumer prefers.

Clothing is a simple example of this. Instead of picking a dress off the rack, consumers at the store of the future will be able to look in a virtual mirror to try on and personalize a dress.

Isaac Katz Store of the Future

Below is a 3D printed dress worn by Dita Von Teese.

3D Printed Fashion Dita Von Teese


How long until we get to this Future of Retail?

The design technology is available today, said Katz, and 3D printing will likely get there in the coming years. 3D printed cloth has been developed but needs more time to be ready for retail.

Mr. Katz pointed to 3-Sweep, an amazing technology we covered last week, as an example of a design technology that could be incorporated into the retail process. (Related: Take a Photo, Get a 3D Model – This Could Change 3D Printing Design)


Take a Photo, Get a 3D Model – This Could Change 3D Printing Design

3-Sweep Is Simply Amazing

Rarely, if ever, do you see an academic video get over 1 million views on YouTube. Well, the research team behind 3-Sweep may have created technology that could push 3D printing forward in a major way.

With a few mouse clicks and keyboard strokes, the software lets a user to create a 3D model from a single photo. 

The team from Israel’s IDC Herzliya, comprised of Tao Chen, Zhe Zhu, Ariel Shamir, Shi-Min Hu, and Daniel Cohen-Or, first plans to present their new technology at SIGGRAPH Asia 2013.

3-sweep 3D model

Meanwhile, MakerBot is selling hardware for $1,400 to digitally scan real-world objects and other companies are raising money on Kickstarter to sell 3D scanner devices for under $1,000.

Below is a video with extensive demonstrations of how the 3-Sweep tech works.


We reached out to some of the 3D printing community. Nancy Yi Liang, co-founder of Mixee Labs, said “Wow. I’ve seen a lot of papers that deal with photo to 3d modeling, especially at SIGGRAPH, but this is one of the few presentations where I thought ‘I can use the interface’ AND ‘this could produce models I’d want!’ I hope they publish the paper and maybe even release some of the code behind the awesome.”

In the video above, when an object is extracted, the background is automatically rebuilt using the patch match algorithm.

Playing this forward, could this technology accelerate the vision of 3D printing in the real world?

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