Shapeways, The Community

3D Scanning Begins to go Mobile!


At the moment Trimensional (a mobile device 3D Scanner) is only available on the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4th Gen. The main reason it’s only currently on these two devices is because the way it works is that while the screen of the mobile device faces you it flashes some fancy lights at you while you stare unmoving at the front-facing camera in a dark room (try not to creep everyone out who lives with you, unless you want to).

I saw this 3D scanning application mentioned initially on my feed from the Smithsonian 3D Digitization page that I “like” on Facebook. It was only 99 cents, so I figured it wasn’t a big monetary risk to try it out. It was pretty entertaining if not with wonderful accuracy (above is a less than flattering low-res 3D scan of me). But hey, it just came out and the creator himself said he’s going to pimp it out a lot more as time goes by. I’m sure most of you reading this blog want to know how these 3D scans apply to 3D printing. There are export features in the works, go to the end of this blog for more info on my email exchange with the creator of this app.

After giving some feedback via email and asking a couple questions the creator actually got back to me rather quickly. In response to my questions regarding if there would be export options in the future he said yes, he’s going to have an export feature, probably with an in-app additional purchase as so many little applications are starting to do lately. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s where you download an application to your device and then for more features can pay a bit more to access these features. Generally the application is initially cool in the first place, which then draws you into more coolness that costs more.

He’s in process of adding on the features allowing STL exports, OBJ exports or both. In either case there would be a possibility of 3D printing our scans, or at least having the basic shape to model around. Just let me know in your comments if you want me to ask the creator of this app anything and I’ll post his answers. He’s eager to know what people want and how much they’d pay for the extra export options. I’m not sure what other devices have front facing cameras, but if you have any specific one in mind I’ll ask about them also.

Even without the eventual export options, the 99 cent application was great for “wow” effect, enough so that my boyfriend snatched my iPhone 4 out of my hand and proceeded to make silly faces at the 3D scanner (and yes mom, my face is going to stick that way (virtually), at least until I delete it).

Now, to make my cat stay still long enough to scan her….

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