Way back in the day, presidents sat before master painters like Gilbert Stuart and posed for hours just so they could be immortalized in the form of an oil painting. Fast forward a few centuries, and we've now got things like 3D printing, which not only speeds up the immortalization process by a lot but is also just a lot cooler. Case in point: Barack Obama's very own 3D-printed bust.

The POTUS' bust has just been added to the National Portrait Gallery. It was the result of a project launched by the Smithsonian Institute, who went on a 3D-scanning spree earlier this year. Obama sat down and had his face scanned using two high-tech scanners. A "light stage" captured high resolution shots of the president's face from ear to ear, and an SLR camera documented the outlying space around Obama's ace to produce an accurate, true-to-life bust. Autodesk post-processed the data to make the final models, and 3D Systems printed the bust.

It's a remarkable moment because it makes Obama the first president to have been scanned with a 3D-printer and rendered as a bust. Click through to see images of the bust.

[via designboom]

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