3D Scanning Technology Trends for 2013

Posted by Thomas Tong on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 @ 01:30 PM

2013As we welcome the start of 2013, here are some 3D scanning technology trends we saw in 2012 that will continue into the 2013 year.

Structured-Light Based 3D Scanning Technology is Gaining in Popularity

In the past, a majority of the 3D scanners in the market uses laser dot or laser line technology. As structured-light 3D scanning technology started to emerge, there wasn't a lot of customer product knowledge surrounding the differences between a laser 3D scanner versus a structured-light 3D scanner. Today, almost half of the products now being introduced are based on different forms of structured light technology. With options at the high end, mobile and entry level market, full-field structured light scanning is seeing more market adoption.

More Options of Low Cost 3D Sensors Fuel Innovative Applications

The Kinect exploded onto the 3D scanning scene in 2012. With a new wave of low cost 3D sensors entering the market, there promises to be new applications where 3D sensors are being used for applications outside of 3D scanning. Expect even more changes and advancements in the sub-$1000 3D sensor market place, and more innovative ways to use these new “3D sensors”. Here a taste of what's to come :-)

Engadget article: PrimeSense shows off tiny Capri sensor, yearns for 3D-sensing future (hands-on)

Leap Motion: https://leapmotion.com

Industry Consolidation Continues

Over the course of 2012 we’ve seen major 3D printer manufacturers merge (Stratasys and Objet) as well as 3D Systems acquisition of Rapidform in October 2012 and recent announcement to acquire Geomagic.

The number of standard industry options is coming together. As the technology matures, we'll be seeing more unified products coming out from larger companies.

Focus on Refining Application Requirements

When 3D scanners were first introduced, the focus was on using 3D scanners for creating basic 3D models. Now that the technology is better understood, there have been many more tools released to process scan data for use in various industry applications. There are now a wide variety of 3D scan data manipulation tools for part analysis, CAD reverse engineering, 3D visualization and 3D printing. Whatever you want to do with the 3D scan data, chances are, there is a great tool that will do what you want. There is an emphasis on making 3D scan data processing more efficient. For example, Geomagic launched a new product called Geomagic Spark, a scan-to-CAD platform that enables users to create accurate, manufacturable solid models and assemblies using combined scan and CAD data within minutes, even with partial scan data. As technology advances and evolves, there is a move to make work processes even faster and at a lower cost.

What other trends do you think we will see in 2013? Please comment and share your thoughts.

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