The folks from Matter and Form, makers of a powerful tabletop 3D scanner, launched a new product: the Bevel clip, a smartphone attachment that performs mobile 3D scanning.
The Bevel is a laser-based 3D scanning unit that attaches to most smartphones and tablets using the audio input port. The scans work much better if your device is equipped with motion-detecting sensors, such as accelerometers and gyros.
Bevel uses an eye-safe laser to project a structured light pattern upon an object. The variations in the reflected structured light are used to reconstruct the 3D image. Fortunately, the laser is eye safe, meaning the Bevel can indeed be used to scan humans – no eyes need to be closed!
The device connects with Matter and Form’s Cashew online service, which stores, repairs and distributes 3D scans. Previously you could use Cashew with your desktop scanner, but now the Bevel’s 3D results can be processed there, too.
The software complementing the Bevel is still not quite complete. For example, they are still working on full 360-degree scans, which are pretty much essential for practical 3D printing applications. At this point they’re focusing on capturing a static, frontal 2D image, which in itself is quite interesting and could be used in 3D printing given further work with CAD tools.
How good are the scans? Actually, they’re not bad for such a small and inexpensive device. And, as they say, the best camera (3D or not), is the one in your pocket. That will no doubt be the Bevel; it’s just too easy to carry along with you all the time.
Here we see an example capture using the Bevel. The results seem as good or better than those we’ve done with Kinect-based technology that is far more unwieldily to use. You can check out this and one other example of Bevel scans here and here.
At this point they’re offering pre-orders for the Bevel at a cost of only USD$49, a tremendously low price. This is 8X less expensive as 3D Systems’ Sense handheld 3D scanner, which currently retails for USD$399. To be delivered in December, the Bevel should rapidly make its way towards being the most popular 3D scanner around.
We say that with some confidence as they’ve already smashed through their USD$200,000 Kickstarter goal only after a few days. This represents an incredible 4,000+ units! It is entirely possible they could approach USD$1M in orders by the end of the campaign. At that level, they would likely become one of the major providers of 3D scanning gear, at least in terms of units sold.
Get one now before the price increases!