Beam Me Up: 3D Scanning is Getting Affordable

Scanning or faxing paper is so 1970. Now you can get an affordable Nextengine 3D scanner ($2,495, just a little more than I paid for my first fax machine). It is another step on the road to dematerialized production, where designs are transported over the internet and printed out where needed. 3D Kinko's are opening where you can go to get your object printed out; 3D printers are still industrial strength at about $ 40,000. According to the New York Times:

"The world is just beginning to grapple with the implications of this relatively low-cost duplicating method, often called rapid prototyping. Hearing aid companies, for instance, are producing some custom-fitted ear pieces from scanned molds of patients. Custom car companies produce new parts for classic cars or modified parts for hot rods. Consumer product makers create fully functional designs before committing themselves to big production runs.

Tom Clay, chief executive of the Z Corporation, says he is constantly amazed by the uses people find for his products. Doctors use them to build practice models, and museums build replicas so people can feel the object without damaging the real artifact. He thinks one big potential market will be three-dimensional portraiture, so people can create busts for immortality." ::New York Times

Tags: Dematerialization | Downloadable Design

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