3DP Applications

3D Printed Pets – The Absolute Solution for the Socially Awkward (and the Socially Conscious)

We as the members of the human race can be considered and labeled as collective animals, who tend to identify ourselves mainly by reflecting on the people around us and on other living creatures– as the existence without any interaction with other living creatures at all would evidently lead to a result of a person, who could hardly tick any of the most relevant and categorizing boxes, which make humans, well, human. Without even thinking about the famous wolf boy anecdote or the derivate of that which is e.g. Kipling’s Mowgli, it is a widespread notion, that during our infancy we learn and create the conception of others early on, long before even realizing the existence of ourselves as the perceivers and builders of the complex categorical networks that in the end build the wondrous world we need to find our own place in.

Simplified Social Networks by sjcockell

However, even though most of us use extensive resources in seeking company and building social relationships throughout our lives – online and offline – not everybody can either achieve that ideal balance of walking the tightrope between social and personal by using plain old humans as the balance beam or just isn’t content with a house full of laughter, not forgetting the already obligatory Facebook account with a roster of 100s of people appointed as friends.

Therefore, in order to fulfill this deficit – which as a need is traceable all the way back to the lower steps of the Maslow hierarchy – many people dream of having some furry or scaly company from the animal kingdom in their houses to accompany the mammal(s) standing on two feet. This is not always possible, though, because whether the ideal candidates for this job have six or no legs at all, their potential to bring additional joy is sometimes hindered by the many elements and aspects weighing down the other side of the scale.

A cat perhaps unsuitable for domestic houses Animal Kingdom by Loimere

Reasons for not going this route – the solitude that is life without animals – vary, but the most common (and obscure) ones can still be identified: allergies are more and more widespread plague of the modern man; ever more active and busy lifestyles make even the thought of having an additional role outside the cubicle-world as a leader/instructor/breeder/friend of a pet bring sweat to the career-oriented man’s Botox-smoothened forehead; the most ambitious couch potatoes are not willing to compromise their slacker-oriented ways by activating their muscular tissues by e.g. playing or walking with a dog, while some fashionista extraordinaire types might not even find a companion that would be esthetically pleasing enough – as an accessory – but I’m happy to inform you that finally, now there’s a solution for all of these potential segments.

3D Printed Animal Figure

The name of the concept is Petfig and as with many other westernly-looking peculiar inventions it comes from the land of the rising sun – Japan. The concept is relatively simple – the person wanting to expand their plush/pet collection to a more realistic and harder direction takes photos of a pet bearing all the desired physical characteristics, sends them to the brains behind Petfit, Yoshinobu Kakumura, who then proceeds to convert and compose the flat images into 3D models. The actualization of the process comes via Shapeways, who are responsible for 3D printing the lifeless, yet alive-looking figures and delivering them to the users straight out of the oven of additive manufacturing.

3D Printed Animal Figure The process

The results of this are…creepy – as in creepily authentic. The Bonzai Kitten, a web age-wise early viral scandal – later fortunately found out to be completely made up – has really nothing on Petfig’s cats, which seemingly have all the characteristics of a beautiful adult feline, just in a miniature size – 7-9cm (2.7”- 3.5”) in height .  The cost for this procedure is quite high, though -25,200 yen, roughly €190/$250.

But even if the price aspect is pushed aside, could Petfig still be the ultimate solution for the social misfits, allergics and eccentrics alike? Not necessarily, at least in my own case. That’s due to the fact that even though the scaled down size pretty much gives it away for us humans, the four legged part of my own personal pack, our Parson Russel Milou, would throw a never-ending fit if a miniature version of himself would suddenly arrive as the new member of our household.

Cat 3D Printed Animal Figure

Could this still be something for you? To find out first watch the unboxing-type of video below to see the (relievingly) small cat – enough of the canine family, this is the internet after all – climb out of the mechanical womb that is the carefully packed bubble wrap, then decide for yourself.

Petfig from yoshinobu kakumura on Vimeo.

If you’re interested in jumping on this potential bandwagon, hit the source link (but if you’re not the master of the Kanji, be beware that the reliance on Google translate is strong on this one i.e. the site’s completely in Japanese).

Source: Petfig (in Japanese)

Screenshots and Petfig images courtesy of Petfig, network and tiger images licensed under CC (credits in the image texts)