Affordability, speed and quality, but as the old adage goes, you only get to pick two. If it’s fast and good, it won’t be cheap; if it’s cheap and good, it won’t be fast; and if it’s cheap and fast, it won’t be good. But the Matterform Scanner, a new portable 3D scanner introduced at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, is looking to change that adage by delivering all three.
The Matterform Scanner is being called the “world’s first truly affordable 3D scanner,” bringing the functionality of 3D scanning into the home office. The product shown at the consumer electronics show is simple in concept but highly technical in design. It takes an HD camera, equips it with dual lasers and a rotating platform, and moves around the object you want to scan. Once you configure the device, which is a one-time process, it’s easy to start with a simple one-button operation. Just press and go.
The team at Matterform designed it to be lightweight, compact and portable. Its base fits easily in most desks, taking up the same area as a standard picture frame, nine inches by 14 inches, when open. The entire device weighs a surprisingly light 3.7 pounds. The device folds up and sports a convenient handle so the artist on the go can take it anywhere. Matterform scanners can scan objects up to seven inches in diameter and up to just under 10 inches in height; however, there is a weight limit of 6.6 lbs, so scanning free weights is out of the picture.
The Matterform 3D scanner can take a complete scan of an object in a little as five minutes. While the quick scan might be good for preliminary imaging, the Matterform also possesses a high-resolution option capable of details as small as 0.43mm. The scanner takes 2,000 points per second and can create “water-tight meshes,” ready for 3D printing or animation.
The concept isn’t just for professional or semi-professional artists. According to the company, other target users include mothers wanting to share their child’s work with extended family and gamers creating personal 3D avatars for shared spaces. “We have point clouds that can be public or private, so artists can share their work with the world or a client,” said Susan McLennan, a representative for Matterform.
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Matterform originally got funding through the crowdsourcing site Indiegogo. In just over one month, Matterform blew out their desired goal of $81,000 Canadian, raising a vast sum of $471,000 Canadian last April.
The company is now taking preorders, with a prospective ship date of eight weeks out. Matterform 3D scanners fall in the prosumer price range at $579.