Jun 15, 2015 | By Alec

Even in the world of 3D printing, where you are literally making new things all the time, patents are of crucial importance. Companies are ever trying to get their hands on a new patent involving minute aspects of 3D printing (remember Amazon’s patent for 3D printing aboard delivery trucks?) and it is especially important for startups to protect their livelihoods. However, Microsoft has just been awarded a patent for the step preceding 3D printing: making 3D printable digital models of objects, specifically after scanning.

This patent revolves around a static depth camera that can be used to scan everyday objects from various angles and generating 3D models on your PC. If you might wonder how in the world that can be patented – after all, there are quite a few scanners out there already – the crucial difference is that Microsoft’s patent revolves around scanning objects without placing them on revolving plates or getting perfect shots every time.

Instead, the idea is that you simply hold an object in your hands, revolve it a few times and the software does the rest. The turntable is completely removed from the scanning process The patent also concerns the technology’s ability to distinguish between the object, the users fingers and even the objects around it. The result simply consists of high resolution images with prominent surface patterns and good color quality.

Of course, this makes the life of the home user much easier. Scanning itself should become simpler, while it all takes less space without a turntable. But the implications of this patent go much further than 3D printing convenience, as YouTube’s the Patent Yogi explains in the video above. Among its applications are game development and making animations as realistically as possible, and even easy use of the company’s upcoming HoloLens VR experience, enabling users to quickly scan and digitally interact with models around them.

And what about mounting these scanners of Google’s Street View cars? This scanning ability could be used to make maps far more interactive and realistic, while the scans can also be used to measure distances. If one thing is clear, it’s that digital design can become way more interesting once this patented technology reaches the public.



Posted in 3D Scanning



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ACG wrote at 6/20/2015 7:18:27 PM:

Whatever. Pffft.

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