Born 538 years ago today, it may have been difficult for Michelangelo Buonarroti
—who spent over two years carving his iconic David
sculpture from a giant block of marble—to comprehend how his statue could one day be formed via 3D printing
. However, in 1998, a group of computer scientists from Stanford University and the University of Washington made this venture their mission—and succeeded. Using laser technology to digitize David
’s external surface, the group fashioned a 3D model of the statue
which was then printed into exact physical replicas, further immortalizing the far-reaching legacy of the master.