As 3D printing technology becomes affordable for the at-home user, the developers behind the Fuel3D want to make 3D scanning available to everyone. With a recently launched Kickstarter campaign, the company is offering handheld point-and-shoot 3D imaging systems for just $1,000 a pop (compared to around $15,000 for similar devices on the market). The Fuel3D captures not only high resolution mesh but also color information, which translates to a digital file that can be manipulated or 3D printed.
The Fuel3D is as easy to use as a regular point and shoot camera, but looks more like a slide projector. The scanner works by placing the included target on the subject to be scanned. With just a flash, the digital information is captured, and transferred to digital file. The whole process is much faster and easier than using a conventional 3D scanner, which would require the subject to remain still during the scan.
The Fuel3D is particularly useful for rendering surfaces like skin, fabric, stone masonry, organic things like plants or leaves, food and artwork. The precision resolution and color capabilities are of the highest quality, making replication of complicated objects easy.
The device was first developed at <a href="http://www.ox.ac.ukOxford University in 2005, and has since made leaps and bounds to become an affordable, soon-to-be commercially available handheld scanner. With the prototype developed and perfected, the Kickstarter campaign will help to fund commercial production. Backers can expect to receive their own Fuel3D scanner in May of 2014.