Ed Fries, once Microsoft's vice president of publishing, left the platform holder in 2004 to work with several startups before founding FigurePrints, a company that specializes in using 3D color printing technology to print custom figures based on players' World of Warcraft characters. It's a pretty neat process, which you can watch here.

It's not the only time the technology has been applied to video games, either, as Electronic Arts and Z Corporation debuted a Spore Sculptor service late last year for gamers to order custom figures of their Spore creatures.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) plans to feature the entertainment/gaming potential of this technology -- which is typically reserved for the manufacturing industry -- at the RAPID/3D Imaging conference next year, which concentrates on "using non-contact imaging technology to capture and process high-resolution 3-D spatial geometries."

Fries and his FigurePrints partner Dan Iosch will keynote the event, highlighting show's emphasis on entertainment gaming this year. SME is still accepting submissions for speakers working with 3D imaging technology in a variety of fields, including animated film production and video game design.

The RAPID/3D Imaging conference will take place on May 18 to 20 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. You can find more information on the event at SME's official site.