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CAB Hosts: “Clearly You Crystals”

Photo Courtesy of Google Images
Photo Courtesy of Google Images

By Gina Olson


On Nov. 15 Students had the opportunity to preserve their 3D selves in optical crystals. Kramer Entertainment, Inc. provided a 3D printer in the lower atrium of the Colket Center from 4:30-9:00 p.m. to take pictures of students and transform these photos into three-dimensional portraits on crystal keychains. The event was free for Roanoke students.

The operator of the printer first advised students to remove layers—coats, jackets, and any kind of bulk—in order to create the best images possible.

As students moved forward in the line, they could watch the process in front of them. The 3D Scanning and Laser Imaging machine looked like a large black rectangle and had a computer screen on top where the operator could check and crop photos.

Though some students took photos alone, other students chose to pose with their friends or significant other. All participants went through the same procedure. They first sat behind the black box in front of a glowing camera lens, closed their eyes for a moment, and smiled as the picture was taken. The 3D “picture” would develop by the time one more person had taken their picture.

This event attracted students for various reasons.

Schyler Wagner, sophomore, pointing to the machine, said, “I was curious about what this was and how it was done.”

While students could get a general view of the process, it is very complex.

According to Bathsheba Grossman, a maker of metal, glass, and other sculptures whose work has appeared in places such as The New York Times, points are drawn onto crystals by the pulsing on and off of a laser. The beam creates very small fractures in the crystal, causing the different patterns to appear.

“The glass itself must be clear optical crystal, since any ripples or bubbles would block or blur the laser,” Grossman further explained in a brief article on bathsheba.com.

Still, students did not need to understand this process to enjoy the event.

Another student, Leah Ganey, junior, came to event because she thought it “seemed fun,” but also because she has a similar keychain with Mount Rushmore in it.

Overall, this gave those who attended an opportunity to preserve themselves. Not in a photo album or a Facebook post, but in 3D and on a light-up optical crystal keychain.