The biggest barrier to 3D printing has always been the creation of 3D content, how many consumers can design in 3D, how many can drive a CAD seat?
Well maybe that just changed. 3D Systems have announced the first step in removing that requirement, now all you need is a camera and hey presto, you can create 3D content almost instantly.
Cubify Capture is a new portal service that allows users to upload photos and videos from their digital, smartphone or tablet camera to its Cubify.com destination and have the images automatically transformed into 3D models. We got a demo first hand from Ash Martin on the booth at CES in Las Vegas last week.
The technology was acquired by 3D when they purchased Viztu back in July 2012.
Essentially the user takes multiple shots around a person or object, then uploads the photos or video, Cubify Capture then analyzes every image (or frame of video) to identify unique features in each one.
Then the software uses those matched features plus information about your camera to determine where each camera was in relation to the object. With this data, a 3D point cloud ois produced of the object captured.
Then you can print it on your Cube or send it to Cubify to print...simples!
We also got a sneaky look at an accompanying tool called Cubify Sculpt which is scheduled to be released later in 2013. Sculpt app will allow you to take the scan of a person or an object that you take in Capture and manipulate it and mold it, incorporating the haptic technology acquired in the Geomagic purchase - so again, no CAD skills needed.
I've always said that the biggest barrier to widespread adoption of 3D printing was the ability of the average man to create 3D content. Now it's early days, there are a few other apps like this out there and all this technology is still in beta. There is a long way to go before it works as smoothly as your tablet or phone, but maybe this is the start of that barrier coming down?