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3-D Scanning Makes It To The Desktop At CES

Forget scanning documents -- now you can scan in actual objects.
Forget scanning documents -- now you can scan in actual objects.

Scanning in documents is old hat -- every multi-function printer these days includes a document scanner. But what if you wanted to capture the image of an actual object -- and not just pictures of it, but a 3-D CAD image, to use as a basis of design work, or as an on-line product display that could be rotated on command?

Industrial-scale 3-D scanners have been available for a while, but are well outside the budgets of most small and midsize businesses. But at the sprawling Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas one booth was showing a desktop 3-D scanner that costs less than some high-end office printers.

Real-View 3-D was showing a device that can scan objects less than about a foot high. The device has two offset laser scanners pointed at a turntable, where it can smoothly and continuously scan in five of an object's six sides. (The bottom would have to be added later, if needed.)

The unit is expected to be available in the spring and cost about $750.

The people at the both were unsure about the resolution, but said it did not meet the 0.1 mm requirements needed for 3-D printing -- i.e., where a replica is created. The scanner is intended for graphic presentations, or to capture a template that can be used for a design (for reverse engineering, in other words.).

CES runs through Sunday, with 2,700 exhibitors, and 130,000 attendees hailing from 140 different countries.

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