Tag Archives: 3D scanner

Structure Sensor Closes $1.3M Kickstarter for 3D Scanner iPad Add-On

Last month, San Francisco-based hardware startup Occipital launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to turn your iPad into a powerful 3D scanner.

Their product is called the Structure Sensor, and the company pulled in $1.3 million from Kickstarter, wildly beating their goal of $100,000.

The Structure Sensor is the world’s first 3D sensor for mobile devices. It gives mobile devices a new sense – the ability to not just capture the world as two-dimensional images, but to actually understand it in three dimensions.

Structure Sensor Interior Map 3D Scanner Lauren

This enables a completely new set of mobile applications, including:

  • 3D mapping of indoor spaces for instant measurements and virtual redecoration.
  • Augmented reality (AR) games where virtual objects interact precisely with the geometry of the physical world, including occlusions.
  • 3D object scanning for 3D content creation with no knowledge of CAD required.
  • Body scanning for fitness tracking and virtual clothes fitting.
  • Virtual reality games using 3D environments imported from the real world.

Structure Sensor 3D Scanner iPad

Structure Sensor Interior Map 3D Scanner Alex

Occipital sells the Structure Sensor kits (retail or the hackable version) for $349. You can still pre-order for shipment in April 2014.

The 3D printing community is getting excited about it too

Many of the uses for Structure are related to augmented reality and entertainment, but it also can be used as an object 3D scanner. In the 3D printing world, 3D scanners have had a surge in popularity over the last 6 months, between the launch of the MakerBot Digitizer desktop 3D scanner, a handful of Kickstarter campaigns, and the 3D Systems Sense 3D scanner.

Structure Sensor 3D Scan Object

Structure is the newest entrant in the 3D scanning world, and some of the key folks in the industry are sharing their excitement.

“We can’t wait to play with one of these around the MakerBot office,” said Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot.

Josh Levine, VP of Engineering for Shapeways is also excited about the opportunities with the technology. “For me the challenge has been in creating 3D objects. This completely obliterates that challenge,” he said.

Learn more at structure.io.

Artec 3D Scanners Used for Big Bang Theory Cast and the Royal Family

A Look at Artec in the Race for 3D Scanners

The race is on.

MakerBot launched its MakerBot Digitizer desktop 3D scanner earlier this year, selling for $1,400. Radiant Fabrication has an all-in-one 3D scanner and 3D printer. Fuel3D raised $300,000 on Kickstarter for its hand-held 3D scanner. And just this past week, 3D Systems launched a $399 hand-held 3D scanner called Sense.

But there is a veteran in this space: Luxembourg-based Artec Group.

Artec 3D scanners are used today by commercial customers like Hyundai Motor Europe. Hyundai employs Artec 3D scanners to create 3D models of automobile seats for new cars. These models can then be tested and modified for maximum safety and comfort.

In fact, there is a wide range of applications where Artec 3D scanners are being used – everything from the film World War Z to the Brazil football team to fashion design.

Artec World War Z

And now celebrities.

The Big Bang Theory

Last season on the Big Bang Theory, the nerds got excited about 3D scanning and 3D printing. In Season 6, Episode 14 (called the “Cooper/Kripke Inversion”), Howard and Raj order customized figurines of themselves online.

Big Bang Theory Kinect 3D Scanner

When the toys arrive, they are quickly disappointed at how poorly the dolls resemblance is. Raj suggests buying a 3D printer to make their own. In the show, they 3D scan themselves as well as Bernadette with a Kinect sensor and 3D print perfect replicas in color.

It turns out that the real scanning was done with an Artec Eva scanner, not a Kinect sensor. The resolution of the Kinect scans was not high enough for a quality, color 3D printed figurine. Instead Artec was selected and Chris Strong from Rapid Scan, an Artec authorized reseller, was invited to the set for the 3D scanning.

Artec 3D Scanner Big Bang Theory Behind the Scenes

Here are 3D models of Bernadette and Howard.

Artec 3D Scan Big Bang Theory

The Royal Family

On a tour of Elstree Film and Television Studios, Britain’s Prince Andrew asked if he himself could be 3D scanned. The Lifecast/Life3D studio team quickly scanned him with an Artec Eva hand-held scanner.

One minute later, a life-like, 3D digital copy was staring back at Prince Andrew from the computer screen.

Artec 3D Scan Prince Andrew

Learn more about Artec at www.artec3d.com.


3D Systems Launches $399 Consumer 3D Scanner; Your Move, MakerBot

3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced today the availability of the Sense 3D scanner, the first 3D scanner designed for the consumer and optimized for 3D printing.

“The Sense is the only 3D scanner to deliver precise instant physical photography, so everyone can capture his or her scanable moments,” said 3D Systems in an announcement.

Sense has flexible scan size and can capture everything from a picture-perfect cupcake to a full-body selfie, processing data in seconds for an instantly 3D printable file. Sense comes with an intuitive user interface with easy and automated zoom, track, focus, crop, enhance and share tools. Sense printables can be sent to the Cube and CubeX 3D printers, or directly uploaded to Cubify.com for cloud printing in a range of materials, including Ceramix, Aluminix and Clear.

3D Systems has priced this new device at $399 and it is available for sale on Cubify.com. The Sense will also be sold on Staples.com and in hundreds of Staples retail stores nationwide starting November 18, 2013.

3D Systems Sense 3D Scanner

“The Sense is the first ever 3D content camera for everyone, making it possible to capture people, objects and places on the go,” said Rajeev Kulkarni, Vice President and General Manager, Consumer Products, 3D Systems. “I anticipate that the Sense’s intuitive nature, portability, range, unmatched quality and powerful user interface and user experience will spur a new social movement around 3D sharable and printable physical photography.”

How Does the MakerBot Digitzer Compare?

The MakerBot Digitizer, launched earlier this year, is a desktop 3D scanner that sells for  $1400.

In comparison, the Sense from 3D Systems is a hand-held 3D scanner that is 1/3 of the price.

Related: 3D Scanning for 3D Printing: How Kickstarter is Changing the Game

A Deeper Dive with the Sense

Mobility: The Sense is a hand-held mobile scanner which allows you to scan spontaneously, everywhere you go.

Range: The Sense can scan small and large objects, people and scenes. From something as small as a book to large as a motorcycle. The 3D scanner also has automatic object recognition to detect targets out of a busy background.

Easy to learn: Sense software is intuitive, fast, accurate and easy to use. Scans process in seconds and can be cropped, enhanced and solidified for printables in just minutes. No design experience is necessary.

New software: Scans can be merged in Cubify Sculpt, consumer software for editing STLs, mash-ups and organic modeling.  Full integration between the Sense and Cubify Sculpt gives you the creative freedom to import your scans and combine them with other favorite designs.

Sense is powered by 3D Systems’ proprietary Geomagic software, making the Sense unmatched in quality, scan speed and easy editing capabilities for consumers. Sense is the only consumer scanner in its class that delivers professional performance at an affordable consumer price and guarantees an awesome user experience.

3D Systems Sense 3D Scanner Output

Watch the video and learn more at Cubfiy.com/Sense.

Artec 3D Scanners Used by Hyundai Europe to Develop Automobile Seats

Leading 3D Scanner Company Artec Delivers Automotive Solutions

In our coverage of 3D printing, there is increasing interest in 3D scanners as a key source of digital input for both rapid prototyping and product development. From simple Kinect-based scanners to the MakerBot Digitizer to Kickstarter campaigns, it seems like more and more 3D scanners are coming to market.

In this article we profile Luxembourg-based Artec Group, a leader in 3D scanning and 3D facial recognition technology that has partnered with Hyundai Europe to help develop automobile seats.

Related: Will 3D Scanners Usher in a New Era of Copyright Infringement?

Artec 3D Scanner Hyundai Automotive

Two different Artec scanners are being used by Hyundai Motor Europe to create 3D models of automobile seats for new cars. These models can then be tested and modified for maximum safety and comfort.

The Artec L scanner captures the geometry of a seat from different angles. Then the smaller, intricate details of a seat are scanned with the Artec MHT scanner and the data is combined to make a complete, highly precise 3D model of the car seat.

Artec 3D Scanner Hyundai Seat Scan

Both scanning devices are portable and easy to use which means that they can be taken to different Hyundai locations.

Watch this narrated video to see how the Artec 3D scanners are used by Hyundai.

Learn more about Artec at www.artec3d.com.


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Will 3D Scanners Usher in a New Era of Copyright Infringement?

Legal Expert Michael Weinberg Explores the Implications of More Accessible and Inexpensive 3D Scanners

This is a guest post by Michael Weinberg, whose bio is at the end of the article.

Q: Will 3D Scanners Usher in a New Era of Copyright Infringement?

A: No.

Tied into our current 3D printing boom is a second, equally interesting one: an explosion of accessible 3D scanners.  As you may be able to guess from the name, 3D scanners can take physical objects and turn them into digital files.  Once you have digitized an object you can modify it, share it over the internet, and/or print it out with a 3D printer.

Like 3D printers, 3D scanners are not new technology.  Companies have been making expensive, high quality scanners for years.  These scanners could be used to quickly create digital replicas of things like buildingsentire neighborhoods, or even fossilized whale bones that are accurate down to the centimeter (or millimeter).  But, also like 3D printers, recent years have started to see low cost, pretty-good scanners enter the market.

MakerBot Digitizer 3D Scanner Bre Pettis

There huge variety in these scanners.  Microsoft’s Kinect has been hacked and turned into a 3D scanner.  123D Catch from Autodesk can turn a series of regular, 2D photographs into a 3D model.   Makerbot has released their own 3D scanner (well, sort of their second 3D scanner), and Kickstarter is chock-a-block full of handheld 3D scannersdesktop 3D scanners, and dongles that turn your phone or tablet into a 3D scanner.  Back in 2011 we even did a podcast interview with the inventor of Trimensional, an iPhone app that used light from the iPhone’s own screen to create a 3D model.

All of which is to say that pretty soon anyone who wants access to a reasonably high quality 3D scanner will have one. In fact, anyone with a smart phone in their pocket will have one whether they want it or not.

3D Scanning 3D Printing

A Crisitunity?

Most people will see this as an exciting opportunity.  Imagine if on your next vacation, instead of just taking a picture of yourself next to the Elgin Marbles you scan them so you can print them out at home.  Or going to a botanical garden, scanning a bouquet worth of flowers, and mixing them into a 3D printed statue for your sweetheart.  Being able to capture the world in 3D will present us all with incredible opportunities.

Of course, some people will see this new technology as a crisis.  They will worry that being able to copy objects means being able to copy objects without permission.  And that could mean infringing on copyright (of course in many cases the objects being copied will not actually be protected by copyright, but let’s set that aside right over here for now).  They will conclude that this type of technology is just too dangerous to be freely available, and insist on some combination of digital and legal restrictions that make it much less useful and much easier to control.

A Dumb Response

This type of response is, in a word, dumb.  Yes, it is true that 3D scanners can copy physical objects.  And it is true that some of those physical objects will be protected by copyright (or patent).  And, furthermore, it is true that some of those protected objects will be copied without permission, therefore infringing on their respective copyrights and patents.

But that alone is not enough to build a case to restrict them.  After all, you can say pretty much the same thing about digital 2D cameras.  Digital cameras make copies of all sorts of copyright-protected things every day.  Many of those copies are made without permission.  And, at least on some level, that is a problem.

But no one would suggest that the correct response to that problem is to build limitations into digital cameras.  Or hold digital camera manufacturers responsible for copyright infringement.  There is no reason to treat 3D scanners any differently.

So enjoy those 3D scanners.  Use them responsibly.  Or at least as responsibly as you use your 2D camera.  And if someone starts freaking out about how 3D scanners will somehow mean the end of intellectual property as we know it, tell them to take a deep breath.  Sit them down.  Scan their face.  Turn it into a 3D printed mug and fill that mug with whatever liquid you think will best help them to relax.

About the author: Michael Weinberg is a Vice President at Public Knowledge, a public interest advocacy group focused on digital issues based in Washington, DC. 

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