MakerBot is well known in the 3D printing world as the company that brought 3D printing to the masses. Some of its products include the very popular MakerBot Replicator, a printer sized device that instead of printing on paper, uses liquid substances to create an actual object in 3D. Now speaking at the SXSW conference, the company CEO stunned the crowd by announcing their first 3D scanner called the MakerBot Digitizer.
While 3D scanners are not new, the technology is still fairly recent. What this usually involves is using a hand held scanner and then slowly going around an object in a precise pattern to scan every side, then using software to reconstitute the object as a digital 3D model. But this company intends on bringing this technology to the masses, which would involve having it work in a reliable and much smaller scale, and having it be easy to use along with affordable. They already have their first prototype that they were showing to the crowd.
Right now it does not look like a marketable product, but if anything this startup has proven that it can take brand new, niche technologies, and make them into a commercial success. While it may be some time before this product hits the shelves, the company opened a web page where people can sign up for updates. The goal for the MarkerBot Digitizer is to make it very simple for people to scan objects, turn them into 3D models, then print them again. This could well become the first mass market 3D copying machine.