3-D printing has come a long way. This bust of the president, made with the most cutting-edge of 3-D scanners, is accurate down to the pore. Unfortunately it doesn't seem accurate down to the "making his eyeballs not dead and creepy" level, but still, impressive!
Last week, the president held the first ever White House Maker Faire "to celebrate America's students and entrepreneurs who are inventing the future," according to the official web page. That included an extremely in-depth 3-D portrait of Obama, the first president to receive one.
Two different capture methods were used, says Vincent Rossi, a Smithsonian 3D program officer who worked with the team along with colleague Adam Metallo and Günter Waibel, director of the Digitization Program Office. "[First], we 3D-scanned the face, ear to ear, at extremely high resolution, capturing details down to the pore level of the skin. We worked with a team from the University of Southern California, who use this technology to 3D-scan Hollywood actors. And then the Smithsonian 3D team used hand-held structured light scanners to scan the rest of the bust—the sides of the face, under the chin, the back of the head. We put these two data sets together in order to create the model we used for the 3D print."
Until we get holograms (or until they figure out how to make his eyes look more alive), this might be the best way for people to remember the president.