Yesterday at the White House Maker Faire, the Smithsonian unveiled the 3D portrait bust above as well as a 3D life mask of President Barack Obama created by a team of digital imaging specialists.
Using "light stage" and handheld 3D scanners, they recorded the features of his face to create this perfect model that will be added to his collection at the National Portrait Gallery. The entire scanning process only took 5 minutes. Director of the Smithsonian's digitization program, Gunter Weibel said that the project was inspired by 3D life masks that were made of Abraham Lincoln.
"There's a very, very deep connection that gets made when you have accurate data of a person's face and that person was a part of history," Weibel told the Associated Press. "People really felt the Lincoln life masks deeply spoke to them and connected them to a place, a time, a life and ultimately a legacy of the 14th president." Lincoln's and George Washington's life masks were made from plaster castings, but Obama is the first sitting President to have a 3D portrait made.