While everybody’s going gaga over 3D printers, Makerbot has announced an October shipping date for its 3D scanner, called Digitizer. It’ll retail for $1 400 (around R14 000).

Digitizer works by having a turntable on which to place products, and a combination of cameras and lasers will then measure the object you want to scan as it spins around – just think of any science fiction film where a character gets scanned by a computer and you’ll get the idea. It’ll take any object that’s up to 20cm tall and 20cm wide, so don’t expect to digitise yourself just yet.

As if piracy of virtual intellectual property wasn’t a big enough concern, the Digitizer will make it possible for people to pirate the very tangible things they buy at shops. While it’s great that the technology exists in an easy-to-obtain consumer device, copyright advocates will be up in arms thanks to how easy it will be to copy real life objects. Makerbot even prides itself on the fact that no technical expertise is needed to operate Digitizer.

That, despite the fact that the company says it’s aiming the device at designers who want to quickly prototype objects, or scan objects that they want to easily modify without recreating entire 3D models.


Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.