When Timeline was first published in 1999, I read it cover-to-cover twice in a row and still felt like I hadn’t fully taken it all in. It was full of really cool ideas, and like most Michael Crichton novels, they were presented in a way that made them seem technologically feasible.

DSC_0034The objects in their case

My favorite was the concept of the ‘Transcription Error’, which can occur when someone uses a teleportation machine to get from Point A to Point B. Their body is broken down into lines of computer code, which are transported and reconstructed at the intended destination. Small errors and inconsistencies in the code can lead to physical deformities in the recompiled person. Sound familiar? 

TranscriptionErrorDeformation across multiple scans

After playing around with the Makerbot Digitizer, I realized there was a chance to test out this concept in real life! I had a scan of my face, access to machines that are able to convert it into lines of code, and access to machines that can convert that code back into a 3 dimensional object. With this in mind, I assembled this piece, named Transcription Error, as a tribute to Crichton’s idea. 

Transcription ErrorAndrew Sink, Transcription Error, 2015, ABS Plastic

Download all the models: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:815570


I started with a printed bust of myself. This print, and all subsequent prints, were made on the same machine with identical settings, filament, and build parameters. I took this object to HackRVA, and used their Digitizer 3D scanner to scan it in.

The first model on the 3D scannerThe first model on the 3D scanner
Scanning in progress (check out that green hair!) Scanning in progress (check out that green hair!)
Process1The first model being scanned
process2The first model being scanned again
Process3Once the first scan was complete, we have the second model

Once the first scan was complete, I printed it out, using the same printer and settings as the first print. This process was repeated three more times.

The order of the prints is immediately apparent, with the later prints being heavily deformed.

All five objects in chronological orderAll five objects in chronological order
DSC_0031Transcription Error
The objects in their caseThe objects in their case