Jun 26, 2015 | By Alec

The advantages 3D scanners and virtual reality options bring to the 3D printing community are fairly obvious. After all, 3D scanners are excellent tools for easily replicating existing objects with a 3D printer, while numerous examples have shown that virtual reality could be the go-to design tool for makers in the near future. Just look at Microsoft’s upcoming HoloLens, which will include options for you to play with 3D printable designs in VR. In that respect, the recent investment successes enjoyed by Californian company Matterport can definitely benefit the 3D printing community in the long term as well.

Matterport, a leader in computer vision technology and immersive media, announced that it has raised a $30M Series C financing led by Qualcomm Incorporated, through its venture investment group, Qualcomm Ventures. GIC joined as a new investor and existing major investors participated in the round as well. Since 2014, Matterport has raised a total of $56M from investors that include Lux Capital, DCM Ventures, Felicis Ventures etc.

For Matterport, as you might now, have been marketing a very interesting Pro Camera since the summer of 2014. Priced at $4,500, it makes 3D scans of environments and allows you to explore these in augmented reality platforms. It has so far been a huge hit with high end realtors looking to offer customers a glimpse of homes for sale without travelling miles and miles. So far, they have been getting 1.2 million unique views per month on these VR videos. These can be explored on a number of devices, including the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard, a browser based application called 3D Showcase.

This success has fueled another round of investment and development that could lead to a great expansion of scanning and VR abilities. ‘We have gone through a growth period and we are looking to further fuel that growth,' said Bill Brown, the chief executive of Matterport. ‘We’re making very good progress on our applications platform.’ Among the upcoming plans are more applications for consumers, e-commerce, advertising, retail, architecture, travel, construction, insurance, entertainment media, and journalism. Most significant of all these new developments are plans for more user generated content, specifically through 3D-sensor-enabled smartphones that can be used to make 3D scans and VR experiences at home. Can you already imagine the 3D printing potential?

To fund these ambitious plans, Matterport has already raised $30 million from a larger variety of investors. ‘Matterport's mission is to give people the freedom to experience any place, at any time,’ said Brown. ‘Three keys to realizing that mission are the ability to have real-world immersive content viewed on the growing number of VR headsets, consumer capture using mobile devices, and a vibrant ecosystem of third-party application developers. We envision a world where an immersive photo-realistic version of every space -- be it a home, apartment, office, business, retail store, museum, hotel, venue or other place of interest -- is available to consumers, on demand.’

With the expected rise of consumer-oriented virtual reality options, these smartphone-based scanning applications could be just what the market needs. But more importantly, it opens up avenues for the next generation in 3D printable design as well. The 3D printing community had better keep an eye on what Matterport is up to.



Posted in 3D Scanning



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