If we've had one thing hammered into our unwilling skulls over the last few years at CES, it's this: 2D sucks, and 3D is awesome. Nothing is better in 2D. Nothing. Not even pictures of your dog.
Somehow (and it won't tell us how), Casio is able to take 2D snapshots, add depth, and then use a proprietary 3D printer to make sculptures out of them. The results, while striking, can be a bit strange, as with the (excessively?) pointy dalmatian in the picture above.
A more appealing variation on this technique is Casio's Relief Painting Technology, which instead of using 3D reach out and poke you in the eye, adds a very slight amount of depth and texture (check out a few examples in the gallery below). These prints are made with some sort of paper, and are quite nice looking — even the ones that aren't of anime chicks.
Casio is as unsure as we are about whether anyone actually wants them to be doing this, and they were handing out surveys at their CES booth to try to figure out if anyone a) likes this kind of thing and b) would be willing to pay for it. The lowest price they had on their survey was $100 and it went up to something like $800, so you can bet that if they ever do start offering 3D-artificationizing of images, it's probably not going to be at a price that you'll particularly want to pay.
If you have to something like this today, Japan has a 3D printed option, though it's more for faces than anything else.
Posted on location at CES 2012 in Las Vegas. All photos by Evan Ackerman for DVICE.