New Zealanders are set to be among the first in the world to get their hands on the most sought-after device this year, and 3D-printed Spark customers are already queuing up at Spark’s Queen Street store.
The ‘World’s Smallest Queue’ is filled with miniature 3D printed replicas of Spark’s most dedicated customers. The body-doubles will be replaced by their full-size counterparts on launch day – Friday 25 September – so that they don’t have to wait.
Spark CEO of Home, Mobile & Business, Jason Paris, says 3D printing is no longer a niche technology.
“Its uses are quickly diversifying”, says Paris. “We’ve seen everything from Foodini, which can print your dinner, to the printing of Van Gogh’s severed ear using relatives’ DNA.
“It’s the first time a company’s 3D printed its customers to provide utility in this way. Queuing is an iconic part of new device fan culture, and as last year’s Emoji Queue showed, our customers jump at the opportunity to queue smarter.”
The ‘Mini-Mes’ holding the customers’ places in line are being printed by Australian company 3D Neoveo, with Spark bringing this technology to New Zealand for the first time. 3D Neoveo founder Shawn Chong says the process begins with collecting data on the person’s shape and appearance with a 3D scanner, and collating this data to construct a strikingly realistic three-dimensional model.
“It’s essentially a 3D selfie”, says Chong. “But it captures a lot more than a photo can, and allows you to see yourself in a totally different way.”
Customers were 3D scanned at Spark’s Queen Street store on Saturday 12 September. The plaster of Paris miniatures were printed layer by layer at the 3D Neoveo studio in Melbourne early this week, and joined the World’s Smallest Queue last night.
“I was a bit nervous at first, but then got really into it”, says Murdie. “I’m excited to see the end result and give him a prime position on my car dashboard.”
But first, Murdie is planning to photograph his Mini-Me striking poses and engaging in activities popular with his life-size counterpart on Instagram – a twist on @socialitybarbie’s popular ‘Hipster Barbie’ series earlier this month.