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China: Beijing undertakers use 3D printing to make high-tech death masks 02:31

China: Beijing undertakers use 3D printing to make high-tech death masks

China, Hebei
May 23, 2017 at 08:13 GMT -00:00 · Published

One funeral home in Hebei province is attempting to innovate China's undertaking business by using technology to bring comfort to those in mourning, creating 3D-printed, photo-generated death masks.

The unusual service at Babaoshan funeral home is set to be used for standard death masks, moving away from the time-costly traditional clay method, but it can also be employed in cases where the deceased suffered injuries that left their faces unrecognisable. To add the natural feel of a more orthodox death mask, the parlour uses plant compounds to make the models non-toxic and biodegradable.

Though Babaoshan has already begun to use the 3D-printing method, the service is not currently commercially available. The funeral home hasn't decided on pricing yet, but representatives say it won't be expensive. The only requirement needed for the mould is a photo of the deceased.

''First of all, we need a portrait photo of the deceased," undertaker Zhang Yang explained. "We import the photo into our software, which will then output a digital model. Then, we copy the model onto a USB stick and insert it into the 3D printer. The printer will print the mould of the face mask we need. We correct it according to the family's wishes. The accuracy of the model can reach up to 90%.''

Zhang Yang hopes that one day biometric information will include a 3D model of people's faces to achieve 100 percent accurate facial recognition.

China: Beijing undertakers use 3D printing to make high-tech death masks 02:31
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Description

One funeral home in Hebei province is attempting to innovate China's undertaking business by using technology to bring comfort to those in mourning, creating 3D-printed, photo-generated death masks.

The unusual service at Babaoshan funeral home is set to be used for standard death masks, moving away from the time-costly traditional clay method, but it can also be employed in cases where the deceased suffered injuries that left their faces unrecognisable. To add the natural feel of a more orthodox death mask, the parlour uses plant compounds to make the models non-toxic and biodegradable.

Though Babaoshan has already begun to use the 3D-printing method, the service is not currently commercially available. The funeral home hasn't decided on pricing yet, but representatives say it won't be expensive. The only requirement needed for the mould is a photo of the deceased.

''First of all, we need a portrait photo of the deceased," undertaker Zhang Yang explained. "We import the photo into our software, which will then output a digital model. Then, we copy the model onto a USB stick and insert it into the 3D printer. The printer will print the mould of the face mask we need. We correct it according to the family's wishes. The accuracy of the model can reach up to 90%.''

Zhang Yang hopes that one day biometric information will include a 3D model of people's faces to achieve 100 percent accurate facial recognition.

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