Even using the simplest CAD program, it can still be difficult to create – or recreate – an object to exact specifications. This (along with some time savings) is one of the reasons 3D scanners exist. Assuming you have a model to work from, a 3D scanner can produce an accurate file with less work. Handheld scanners are even more convenient.
Most handheld 3D scanners are used by businesses to take measurements, reverse engineer a part or start a CAD model. Their power and capabilities come at a price. Matterport says it plans to reduce that price with its new 3D scanner.
Still in development, the Matterport 3D scanner looks kind of like a Kinect with a hand grip. The first prototype was basically just that: a modified Kinect that could be waved around. Subsequent models have replaced the Kinect innards with Matterport developed hardware.
According to the company, the Matterport 3D scanner has been designed to be less expensive and faster than the competition.
“We turn reality into 3D models and our scanner is 20 times faster and 18 times cheaper than any other tool on the market,” said Michael Beebe, Matterport co-founder, in a press release. “We are creating fundamentally new technology, like the steam engine or the car.”
By my math, that puts the Matterport scanner at under $2,000, which could make the device more attractive to small businesses and even some individual users. Even if the speed of the final product doesn’t quite match up with current claims, as long it has reasonable precision, I don’t think many people will complain if the price is right.
If the 3D scanner pans out, I wonder how long it’ll take for another company to try and match, or even beat, the price. It may be that a few years down the road we can expect to see complete hobbyist additive manufacturing packages that include a 3D printer, 3D scanner and an easy-to-use CAD program for under $1,000.
Below you’ll find a video of the Matterport 3D scanner in action.