May 10, 2016 | By Alec

3D selfie booths that produce 3D printed, full-body and full-color figurines are all intended for capturing those fun memories at a theme park or on that special vacation. However, as one Japanese father shows, they can also provide solace to mourning families. Back in 2014, one unnamed father from the city of Zentsuji, Kagawa Prefecture, lost his daughter Miku in a horrible car accident. Thanks to the fantastic work of Roice Entertainment, Miku’s father was able to find solace in a figurine that depicts Miku exactly as he remembers her: fully of life and happiness, with a big smile and open arms.

Miku’s story is exactly what every parent fears. Back in January 2014, the eleven-year-old Miku was on her way home from school when she was hit by a driver under the influence of drugs. Though taken to the hospital immediately, Miku was pronounced dead soon after arrival.

Her father did his best to carry on with his life, but this accident understandably continued to follow him around. Fortunately, he discovered a possible solution when visiting a 3D printed figurine store. While a 3D scan was obviously not possible, the father was told he only needed four photos to make a figurine of a pet. Though taking various photos of his daughter to the store, they were unwilling to help him. The shop owners told him that 3D printers would be unable to capture her emotions and expressions, so it wasn’t a good idea. Determined, the father continued visiting and contacting other stores, who were all as reluctant to help him – even though Miku’s face was clearly visible in the photos.

Fortunately, he eventually came into contact with Osaka-based Roice Entertainment. Though it sounds like a casting agent or entertainment agency, Roice Entertainment is actually a specialist provider of 3D printed urns that are based on photographs of the deceased. The Japanese company was all too happy to try and help him. “I didn’t think it would be possible but we accepted the order because we felt it was important,” said Roice Entertainment President Koichi Furusho. Fortunately, they have had some experience with working with nothing more than photos and sketches for their urns.

But making the figurine was quite a challenge, and took about four months to complete. The Roice team first imaged Miku from all angles and created various prototypes for her father to see. Determined to get a good figurine, her father asked for multiple corrections several times. Furusho recalled some of his feedback, which included “the forehead should be smaller” and “the eyes should be close-set.”

But in February 2015, a little over a year after her death, the exclusive figurine was finally completed. Miku’s father was completely overwhelmed. Perfectly capturing Miku’s warmth and emotions, the figurine looks like it just jumped out of a video clip. “I never imagined it could bring us this much relief,” the father told Japantimes. “This figure makes me feel her presence more than a picture, so I often end up talking to her.”

For Roice Entertainment, this is exactly what they are hoping to bring to families. “The cost is really high but we’re going to accept orders from anyone who needs our service,” Furusho explained. Since providing their 3D printing services for the deceased, Roice Entertainment has had about 50 orders, mostly from parents who lost a child. A 20-cm-tall figure costs about ¥108,000 (almost $1000 USD), and is always made with extensive family input. “We had not imagined that with 3D printing technology we would be able to bring such relief to people. We want to continue to help,” Furusho added.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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