Become Lilliputians

DUBAI - Lothar Hohmann calls the ‘miniature him’ or TIM the devil on his shoulder. But the tiny thing looks as real as himself.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Mon 11 Oct 2021, 11:41 AM

Last updated: Mon 11 Oct 2021, 11:42 AM

TIM, an acronym for ‘This is Me’, is a first of its kind imaging technology that creates miniature 3D figures of people.

The product was launched for the first time in Dubai last week in the TIM studio in Al Barsha, Dubai. TIM is an exciting, innovative product made possible through technology developed by PRECISE, and the vision of the company’s Managing Director, Lothar Hohmann.

“TIM offers a powerful medium to capture people in the present moment in a way never possible before. More than a photo or a video, it is a scaled likeness of the individual which creates excitement across the generations. PRECISE originally launched 3D crystal engraving in Dubai more than 10 years ago, capturing images of people, buildings, products and logos within crystal blocks or on crystal trophies.

With the ongoing development of digital software, printing techniques and the latest generation of rapid prototyping technology, TIM has become possible,” said Hohmann.

For now, a person has to be physically present for the imaging till the technology has a library or pre-generated body types. Hohmann added that the product is custom-made to the needs of the customer.

“The person who wishes to have a TIM is photographed in a special reflection tent that allows an optimal light environment. Cameras and projectors are set up in the four corners of the special studio, sending data to our computer system. Projectors and cameras must be fully synchronised to enable an absolute measurement value — which is why we need a protected and stable environment for the equipment. “The actual scanning takes roughly four seconds per shot, with 3-6 shots required to allow for accurate capturing of the image. The process then requires the operator to ‘clean’ the scanned image before sending the data to the 3D printer to reconstruct the model,” he said. Hohmann added that TIM is made from a high performance compound with the appearance of a plaster casting combined with a binding solution, essentially ‘printed’ layer by layer in full colour.

The 3D printer will construct hundreds of thin layers.

It takes 4–6 hours to complete the printing of your TIM, followed by an additional 1.5 hours of ‘curing’. After the curing, the excess powder is cleaned off the TIM, and it is then dipped in a special glue solution to harden the surface.

Based on the various steps during the production processes it will take about 8 to 10 working days to finish a TIM.

“We have invested over Dh1 million since late 2011 to realise this dream, and PRECISE is delighted to finally unveil the next step in immortalising personal memories,” Hohmann added.

TIM is not fragile like glass but if it is dropped it will certainly be chipped or damaged, he said.

TIM studio was opened on April 4, showcasing an array of newly created TIMs.

TIMs can be ordered through any PRECISE retail outlet in Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre, Atlantis and the Dubai Duty Free.

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