Calling all techies: Another reason to visit South Korea

Calling all techies: Another reason to visit South Korea

Did you know that South Korea is the world leader in 3D printing?

Now this future is getting a little bit closer, especially in South Korea, the world leader in 3D printing. IOYS is a Seoul-based company that has developed its own method of making stunning copies of anything – even you. But how does it feel to confront a life-like miniature replica of yourself in natural colours – fascinating or freaky? There’s only one way to find out.

Customers at IOYS simply walk into a booth filled with 100 mounted cameras. Inside, they strike a pose while the cameras capture a sequence of pictures from multiple angles. After choosing the best shot, a 3D app forges the pictures into a 3D file. A 3D figurine of yourself is then printed out on one of the best 3D printers available on the market.

The result is surprising in its richness of detail – particularly considering the technique is so new and significant improvements can be expected in coming years. With a chain of stores already active across South Korea, IOYS is expanding constantly. The most accessible outlet is in Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a striking edifice resembling a huge piece of molten metal, designed by Zaha Hadid.

Sung Pyo Hong, an employee at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza shop, is a firm believer in the potential of the technology. “Having a 3D figurine of yourself or somebody you love is so much more vibrant and alive than a 2D picture.”

3D invasion

Founded in 2015, IOYS plans to expand to the US and Europe. Prices vary by size. The smallest figurines are 5 cm tall, but the most popular sizes are 10 cm, 15 cm, or 20 cm, which cost €80, €125, or €250 respectively. Customers wanting a bigger version can be offered a special edition that is printed out in sections and then assembled. Delivery in 3-5 days; IOYS also delivers overseas. The plastic powder creates a hard, durable surface. The ProJet 660 3D printer can print out details as small as 0.1 mm in full colour.

Text by Anders Pihl
Photo by Andrea Björsell