SOHO — Have you ever wanted to have an action figure of yourself?
Now you can, with a quick trip to a corner store in SoHo, where a company named DOOB has set up shop, producing extremely realistic figurines of anyone who walks in (and has $95 to $695 to spend).
DOOB uses a patented 3-D scanning technology to make three-dimensional replicas of people — and their dogs.
The business launched in Dusseldorf, Germany, where the technology was originally developed for use in hospitals.
“We actually developed the technology for medical purposes, scanning cancer and stroke victims for prosthetics and facial implants,” explained DOOB CEO Michael Anderson, 38.
DOOB has been in the U.S. since September, first on the West Coast, and now in New York City. Their first NYC location was a pop-up in Chelsea Market, where the Halloween store Abracadabra provided costumes and props for people to pose with.
Now they’re operating exclusively out of a corner gallery space on Wooster Street at Grand Street, with dozens of little figurines on display, showing families, kids, firefighters and police officers — and many, many dogs.
“They’re even more popular in SoHo than in Chelsea Market,” Anderson said of the dog figurines.
Anderson said they'd only planned to be in the SoHo space for a short time, but it's been such a hit that they decided to extend their stay.
People who want a replica step inside a white-paneled chamber, where 54 cameras take a photo of the person at the exact same instant.
The photo files are transmitted to computers at DOOB’s workshop in Industry City out in Brooklyn, where a set of three printers that are each about 7 feet long, 5 feet tall, and 3 feet deep, produce the figurines over the course of 14 to 24 hours.
The figurines are made in batches, several at a time — the exact number depends on the size of the figurine ordered.
The printers put down layer upon layer of white powder, and the color acts as a binding agent to create the shape of the figurines. When the printer finishes, the figurines have to be pulled out of the powder.
“It’s like excavating them,” explained Kevin Cassidy, 25, who works in the Sunset Park workshop. “You’re sort of blind.”
Cassidy then gently brushes the figurines clean, paying special attention to any excess powder that might have gathered under the arms or ears.
The figurines are ultimately dipped gently in a bath of a glue-like substance that brings out the color, gets rid of the powdery whiteness, and hardens them. People typically receive their figurines within two to three weeks of placing their order.
DOOB’s patented 3-D scanning technology is efficient both in terms of cost and time, Anderson said, which is what enables them to produce the replicas relatively inexpensively. The goal is to make the process more and more cost-effective, eventually allowing people to purchase more of them to give out to family members as easily as holiday cards.
“It’s a recreation of the family photo,” Anderson said, pointing out all the figurines of couples, families and pets. “They’re more emotional products than vanity products and novelties.”