3D-printed figurines chased after by athletes at Chengdu Universiade

By Sun Longfei, People’s Daily

Chinese hurdling star Wu Yanni, who competed at the recent 31st FISU World University Games held in Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan province, recently received a special birthday present – a 3D printed figurine of herself.
The miniaturized model depicted Wu holding a Rongbao, the mascot of the Chengdu Universiade, in one hand and a torch in the other.
“This is unbelievable,” Wu exclaimed upon seeing the vivid details like the strands of hair in her braids. She was amazed that the gift captured her likeness so intricately.
Such an exquisite figurine is available to all members of the Chengdu Universiade delegations whose birthdays fall between July 22 and Aug 11 at a 3D photo studio in the Sci-tech Services Workstation of the Universiade Village.
The studio, which covers only seven square meters, is equipped with 82 cameras that can take 800 photos of a person from different angles in three seconds. Through AI modeling, the studio builds a lifelike 3D model of the person and then prints the figurine with photosensitive resin.
According to Gu Li, who works at the studio, such figurines normally can be printed in heights of 9 cm, 12 cm, 15 cm and 18 cm, and the details are presented better on bigger ones. She said the souvenirs received by the members of delegations were the 18 cm version.
“The 3D printing technology is very mature now. The figurines don’t fade easily and can be preserved for many years,” she told People’s Daily.
Transforming 2D photos into 3D models, this ingenious technology infuses the souvenirs with warmth, creating treasured memories for participants from around the world.
Many athletes showed their signature moves while taking photos. A Singaporean rhythmic gymnast did a needle split; a Polish athlete mimicked drawing a bow; an athlete flexed his muscles wearing a cute Rongbao hat to show a sharp contrast. Some posed in front of the cameras wearing swimsuits and medals.
The diverse and lively figurines will be a unique memory of members of delegations around the world to the Chengdu Universiade.
Gu said that a Brazilian coach had recently brought a group to have their figurines made. They visited the studio early for two days in a row, eager to receive their finished models.
To meet demand, the normal 15-day production time was compressed to 4 days. So far, over 100 people from dozens of delegations have received their birthday gifts from the studio.
It will effectively promote China’s technology and culture when participants bring home the souvenirs with Chinese and Chengdu characteristics, said He Xingcheng, business director of SW 3D, the company that runs the studio.
Apart from the studio, there are many other tech products that bring convenience to the “villagers,” including a smart online interpretation system that supports 83 languages, a cooling vest that maintains a consistent temperature of 23 degrees Celcius, and a robotic barista that can make customized coffee in 90 seconds. The Chengdu Universiade just amazed the world with technologies.


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