Personal 3-D scanning: 3D Systems Sense scanner
Cost: $399 from Cubify.com
Now 3-D printer stock nerds have yet more news to print up money with: Last week's debut of a fascinating product called the Sense 3D scanner, a high-quality, handheld, three-dimensional image capture tool that can encode the spatial relationships of the everyday objects. From what I have seen from company demos here in New York, the device really can capture the shape of normal things such as glasses, faces and body parts. The Microsoft Surface Pro-compatible device then uploads its content to Cubify, 3D Systems' cloud-based printing service and, poof, instant 3-D part.
Certainly it's fair to wonder who will pay $400 for a handheld scanner. And how long will it be before smartphone camera-based apps copy the technology. But for now, industrial designers, modelers and special effects people will see the sense in Sense. And that should be enough to yet again start the fresh buzz about the power and profit of 3-D printing.