By Zak Stone
Falling in love may make you feel like you want to consume someone whole. A Tokyo-cafe armed with a 3-D printer was willing to fulfill this wish, more or less, by letting customers 3-D print gummy versions of themselves to be gifted to a loved one during an East Asian version of Valentine's Day, called White Day (which happened on March 14).
At at the coffee shop Fab Cafe, customers were able to pay about $60 to receive a 3-D scan of their body, edit the self-portrait on a computer, and then send the file to a printer, which extruded a plastic replica of the body in the form of the mold. The following week, the customers retrieved their mold and filled it with gummy flavors of their choice, like cola or lime.
It's no coincidence that all the molds seem to be of dudes. White Day is the holiday when men give gifts to women, returning the favor a month after Valentine's Day, on which women give gifts to men in Japan.
When it comes to making 3-D printing fun, accessible, and personal, the Japanese have got it figured out. The edible portrait project follows a project hosted at a Tokyo mall that let shoppers create 3-D printed self portraits akin to personal action figures, using a similar process.
Copyright 2013 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.