A 1000 scans in your pocket!
Since we joined the 3D printing industry over 12 years ago our goal has always been to create ‘accessibility’ for 3D technology. Our paper based solution was designed to offer that type of accessibility – readily available material that is low cost and eco-friendly. But if we want this industry to go mass we need this type of accessibility in every aspect of the workflow involved in getting a 3D model. One of the things that we have always said would make a difference is the ability to create 3D files with little or no skill level!
In the past 3D files were created by professionals on a CAD package of some sort but the growth in 3D scanning has increased the number of ways in which you can access a 3D file. However as recently as three to five years ago, 3D scanning was not part of the average person’s daily vocabulary. These devices were predominantly used by engineers, product designers and quality control professionals in industrial applications, such as reverse engineering and inspection. 3D scanners from companies like Z Corporation, Creaform, GOM, Aicon, Faro and Konica Minolta. ranged in price from $40,000 USD to $200,000 USD and most of these scanners did not offer the capability to capture colour. Many were attached to fixed mechanical arms or were very complicated to set up, thereby greatly limiting their use.
The introduction of sub-$1,000 USD, highly portable 3D scanners, such as StructureIO, Kinect, Fuel3D and David Scanner has definitely helped, most of which can capture colour. BUT a recent step by Sony into this space I believe will really transform scanning as we know it and thus 3D printing.
Earlier this month Sony introduced the Xperia XZ1 at IFA, which now includes a new breakthrough feature called 3D Creator. This pre-loaded application has the ability to generate realistic 3D scans of objects and people in under a minute. There are four scan modes —head scan, face scan, food scan and freeform scan. Each mode has its own custom guides for ease of use. There are also many playful options to enjoy with 3D Creator, such as creating an avatar for use in the camera AR effects options, setting a live wallpaper, sharing on social media with your friends as a 3D sticker, or sending to a full colour 3D printer to make it into a memorable keepsake.
For the first time this device has the ability to put 1000 scans in your pocket and thus the potential to drive the 3D printing industry at a mass level. All processing is done on the phone which produces a proper full colour file, an OBJ. Steve Jobs may have talked about ‘1000 songs in your pocket’ but imagine having 1000 scans in your pocket. The wonderful thing about releasing this to all those Sony Xperia XZ1 users, who knows how they will use it or what they will want to print!
Exciting times ahead for full colour 3D printing!