It's not secret that we're big fans of 3D printing. From printing a real concert flute and using a 3D printer to create food in cool shapes, to companies providing templates to make new phone covers, we're just starting to scratch the surface of what the future will look like. While there are sites like Thingiverse that contain a wealth of different objects, the ability to scan an item and print it out is just cool.
Enter MakerBot, the leader in 3D printing. Today, at the SXSW conference, they've announced the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner. The device uses a combination of lasers and cameras to capture the physical dimensions of an object, then converts it into a digital file that can be printed using a 3D printer. Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot, said, "The MakerBot Digitizer is a great tool for archiving, prototyping, replicating, and digitizing prototypes, models, parts, artifacts, artwork, sculptures, clay figures, jewelry, etc. If something gets broken, you can print it again." Unfortunately there are currently no pictures of the device, but MakerBot promises to release them soon.
If this device works as described, users will be able to combine this with a 3D printer and create nearly anything they want at very low costs. Even clothing could be created, as evidenced by Shapeways' fully articulated evening gown. When this scanner hits the mainstream, we'll be one step closer to having our very own replicators.