One of the most powerful and accessible 3D scanning tools just got a little better. Skanect has released version 1.6 with some interesting new features.
If you’re not familiar with Skanect, it’s a software tool that transforms your leftover Microsoft Kinect into a pretty handy 3D scanner. It provides a friendly interface to take you through the several steps to a successful 3D scan. It also works with other common depth cameras besides the Kinect.
But what’s new in 1.6? There’s a lot, but we noticed these key things:
- They now support the Structure Sensor by streaming to Skanect with the “Uplink” feature
- 3D scans can be immediately uploaded to Shapeways, creating a direct workflow from your scan to (potentially) cash
- You can now engrave text into plane-cut surfaces
- Color gain is now adjustable – no more “dark” scans
- Retina support for OSX
- GPU processing improvements for more responsive real-time 3D views
- And a lot of bug fixes and tuneups
We’ve been using Skanect in our lab for going on a year now, and it has proven to be very useful for quick 3D scans, usually those involving people. The accuracy of the Kinect does limit what you can do, however. We’re hoping some new, inexpensive sensors appear on the market that can be used with Skanect.
We wondered, however, how Skanect is faring against the multiple 3D scanning options now emerging, including Cubify’s Sense and MakerBot’s Digitizer. Occipital’s Nicolas Burrus, one of those behind Skanect, told us:
Regarding business, we’re not being affected by other scanners so far, their price point is significantly higher and at least the MakerBot one target different use cases.
This is true; most people already have a Kinect or similar scan device lying around home and if not they’re only USD$100 to purchase. Combine that with the USD$129 price of Skanect and you’ll soon have a good 3D scanning setup.