By now, most people have heard of 3D printing, which is poised as the next great disruptive technology. But for many, 3D printing still seems like a futuristic idea, and while it has a variety of uses, from printing skull replacement parts or a robotic hand, it hasn’t been adapted by the masses yet.
The issue is in the prohibitively high cost of these devices, and the skill and software required to create digital 3D models for printing. But as reports suggest the price of 3D printers will drop rapidly in the next few years, some startups are already tipping the scales further by entering relatively low cost 3D scanners into the marketplace.
MakerBot made waves in early March when it announced at SXSW it would be selling a Digitizer 3D Scanner, which would open up the options for 3D printing to the masses. But MakerBot isn’t the only one in the game. Canadian startup Matterform has just announced it will begin selling the Photon 3D Scanner for just $443.
The Photon 3D can scan objects up to 190 x 190 x 250 mm (approximately 7.5 x 7.5 x 9.8 inches) in size and comes with software that can export the scan in STL, OBJ and point cloud PLY formats. Matterform claims to have designed the scanner for anyone with a 3D printer. Right now, that’s not very many consumers. However, with businesses like Staples offering up 3D printing services and affordable retail-ready printers around the corner, a low cost scanning option is a step in the right direction for consumers.
Source: Ars Technica