In a momentous move for the company, 3D Systems released its first 3D scanner, known as the Sense 3D Scanner, which was designed and optimized for 3D printing. However, what exactly is the scanner meant to accomplish? In a nutshell, a 3D scanner is a lot like a digital camera. Users walk around real-world environments with the scanner and effectively “take pictures” of the object they’re interested in scanning. The data that’s held on the scanner can then be fed into a 3D printer for accurate reconstruction without any design knowledge on behalf of the user.
About 3D Scanning
The premise sounds quite simple, but there’s a little more to what meets the eye given how advanced this technology is. The majority of 3D scanners are equipped with color-capturing technologies, but users will have to take close up images of the object they’re scanning in order to have the most accurate reproductions possible. This might result in needing to take quite a few pictures of the object they’re scanning and feeding them all into the printer. For the most large, complex objects, it’s not unusual to need to take hundreds of shots.
With that being said, 3D scanners aren’t like digital cameras in the shutter lag sense. There’s very little wait time in between taking images, so users won’t be standing around waiting for an image to copy to a memory card or for the charge to fire up. It’s really a point and shoot technology!
Tech Specs of the Sense
The Sense is flexible with regards to its scan size and can capture pretty much everything from a small flower to a full human: all while processing data within seconds. Its scan volume lies somewhere in the region between 0.2M to 3.0M and has automated settings for optimal scanning of small objects, or those under 18 inches. It can also handle medium objects like a portrait (less than 32 inches) and a full human body (less than six feet). However, users are by no means obligated to use these settings and can freely customize their scanning experience using more advanced settings.
The Sense has a triangle-output rating between 20,000 and 400,000 triangles per scan, which results in high-quality scanning and completely accurate reconstructions. The scanner is equipped with a Class I laser that is rated as being safe to the human eye and comes packaged with intuitive software and a simple user interface that closely resembles modern digital cameras. The Sense works with Windows 7 and above. It’s believed that it’s Linux compatible as well, but this isn’t officially supported.
The Sense 3D scanner is currently priced at $399 USD and can be purchased on Cubify. It was also released as a flagship product of Staples / Business Depot and was made available in all retail stores across the United States on November 18, 2013. Before this, a product launch party was hosted by the 3D Systems CEO at Engadget Expand, which took place on November 8, 2013 in New York City, New York.