3D Scanning is going to propel the 3D printing industry into main stream retail for one reason. That reason is, the easier it is to scan, the easier it is to make custom products – and you can make a lot of custom products with 3D printing. It is definitely a 3D marriage.
‘Is your shoe size 9? Oh wait are you shoe size 9 US? Oh you’re an 8 in the UK? Wait, it still doesn’t fit. This is getting confusing.’ Shoe sizes are a thing of the past, it simply won’t exist, your foot will be scanned (using a 3D scanner), you will have custom fit shoes made to your exact foot size, isn’t that much better than generic show sizes? Something made to fit your foot, not to mention the customizable options available using a 3D printer.
And it gets much better, 3D scanning isn’t only for feet, it’s for the whole body. You will be able to scan your body and custom make every item you have. You can scan your body and get perfectly tailor made clothing and accessories.
There are number of 3D scanners and applications on the market at the moment, the XYZprinting Intel handheld scanner is coming to market soon, I have used it and it’s impressive. Other interesting portable 3D scanner manufacturers include Cubify with their Sense scanners which also has attachments for the iPhone and iPad.
But there’s more to come with 3D scanning, there is an increase in 3D scanning apps using your mobile phone camera. Autodesk 123D Catch allows you to scan using photographs from which it automatically generates a 3D object – however it’s a little tricky to use. SOLS the custom insole designer company is using the iPhone and iPad to capture the precise dimensions of your foot from only 3 photographs which is truly outstanding, imagine 3 snaps from your phones camera and then you have a custom designed shoe. It’s amazing.
It’s great for safety too, got a motorbike? Well you probably want a good safety helmet for that, how about a custom designed helmet using your exact head measurements? That’s safer and more comfortable. 3D scanning and 3D printing is already being applied in the medical industry with outstanding results and its application in retail among other industries is hugely exciting, we are truly entering a custom world.