Jan 4, 2016 | By Alec

With CES ready to kick off in Las Vegas later this week, the tech world is already preparing itself for an avalanche of exciting technologies and machines. And as numerous companies are hard at work making handheld 3D scanning solutions an affordable reality, it will be very interesting to see what is coming. The first of those intriguing solutions was already present at the CES pre-show, where Lenovo showed off the upcoming ThinkPad X1 – a cool functional tablet that can be so much more. With the help of a series of extra modules, this 12-inch tablet can be transformed into a work station, a projector, and even a 3D scanner.

Of course Lenovo is known for putting a unique spin on quality laptops, but this latest machine really seems to take tablets to the next level. Essentially a regular 12-inch tablet featuring Intel’s latest Core m7 chipset, the user can transform it into anything it needs to be with their clever modules. Three different modules were also showcased, each looking like a battery pack that adds just a bit of weight. The ‘productivity’ module, for instance, adds an extra five hour battery as well as a series of HDMI and USB ports, suddenly turning the tablet into an actual work station. The ‘presenter’ module, meanwhile, contains a pico projector capable of generating a 60 inch display from the bottom of the ThinkPad X1.

But the 3D scanning module is where it’s all at. Featuring an Intel RealSense camera, it turns the ThinkPad into a quality 3D scanner – making it perfect for capturing and editing objects for 3D printing purposes. This same camera has already been embedded into a few laptops and desktop PCs, but this is the first time it has been included in a tablet, giving users the freedom of a tablet for the editing of objects.

The only problem with this exciting module approach is that they can be a bit tricky to attach, as you can see in the quick review from The Verge above. Featuring cases and latches, it can be a bit too awkward for regular use but is still far more portable than any other 3D scanning solution out there. Fortunately, the ThinkPad also comes with a clever kickstand and keyboard to make it quite a functional machine, with the latter attaching magnetically.

All in all, it’s a very interesting concept that could make scanning and image editing more portable than ever before. The only downside is, as you’ve doubtlessly expected, that the modules aren’t standard with the ThinkPad X1. The tablet itself (expected to launch in February of this year) costs $899 on its own, with the 3D scanning module and ‘productivity’ module costing $149 each. The projector even costs $279, so this extra level of portability definitely comes with a price.

 

 

Posted in 3D Scanning

 

 

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