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HP Unveils Consumer-Priced 3D Scanner

By - Source: TechCrunch | B 18 comments

It isn't a holographic projector, but it might bring small businesses one step closer to the Star Trek version of the future.

Say what you will about Hewlett-Packard's consistently terrible corporate management and laughable failures in tablets and smartphones, HP still knows a thing or two about amazing peripherals. Witness the just-announced HP TopShot LaserJet Pro M275, an impressive web-connected printer/scanner that can scan 3D objects and still comes in at a reasonable $399.99. Of course this doesn't mean the kind of 3D for which you probably spent way too much money on a 3DS. The function is intended to streamline the process of photographing objects and getting the images online, for people who make their living from boutique sites or on eBay.

The scanner works by using the camera mounted on the crane arm to take 6 individual images from different angles and exposure levels. Those photos are then combined into a single image that HP claims will be seamless. Pretty cool, but in addition to the whole "wow, it scans 3D images" thing, the HP TopShot will also come with some useful features, like apps for posting the images directly to online storage sites and auctions, and the ability to print directly from your smart phone or devices like iPad and iPod Touch. Scans are able to get up to 245 dpi, which isn't bad unless you consider the HP TopShot prints up to 600 dpi. Assuming HP doesn't experience yet another management shuffle that veers the whole company sideways, future incarnations will likely have higher quality scans.

The HP Topshot also has support for HP ePrint and AirPrint, connects to the internet without a computer and will also work on a wireless network. All in all it looks like a shockingly affordable gadget for small businesses. No release date has been announced though, so keep your fingers crossed this won't go the way of Microsoft's Courier tablet.

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  • 4 Hide
    CaedenV , September 9, 2011 8:21 PM
    interesting.
    I remember my dad's first flat bed scanner was 75DPI, to be followed just 3 years later with one that would do 1200dpi.
    I wonder if this '3D' is just a bunch of pictures like the rotate view on Newegg, or if it is an actual 3D object.
  • 4 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , September 9, 2011 8:38 PM
    Awesome, but i'm waiting for a consumer priced 3d printer. That would be the 5#!+.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , September 9, 2011 8:45 PM
    @caedenv

    i got a feeling it's more a front, left, right, back, top and bottom kind of affair....
  • 1 Hide
    genghiskron , September 9, 2011 9:11 PM
    gotta agree with notEvenClose. it sounds like this is not at all a 3D scanner, but instead a 6-view 2d scanner.
  • 3 Hide
    masterasia , September 9, 2011 9:23 PM
    Can it scan my ass?
  • 4 Hide
    jecastej , September 9, 2011 9:31 PM
    Absolutely, it is photo based and a fixed 3D rotation movie effect. Read again. But it is a tool for eBay business or for an electronic catalog of real objects.

    But also I agree with you and I want a low cost 3D scanner that produces a 3D virtual mesh for my personal and commercial use. Come on HP! The low cost 3D printer is also a welcome.
  • 4 Hide
    rosstradamus , September 9, 2011 9:40 PM
    In 6 angles, Masterasia!
  • 0 Hide
    festerovic , September 9, 2011 9:45 PM
    Let's take this ass-scanning thing a bit further... Suppose HP could come up with something like eyefinity for this, we could be scanning 3 asses at the same time!
  • 3 Hide
    nikkidpartypooper , September 9, 2011 11:06 PM
    Now I'll be able to go onto eBay and not be so lazy to put up photos of what I'll auction off.
  • 2 Hide
    razor512 , September 9, 2011 11:26 PM
    it is just a angle view tool, it doesn't actually make a 3D model of the item as it doesn't record the data needed to gain accurate depth.

    It is basically spending a ton of money for a low quality camera that will take a few angles for you.

    It is easier to just get a quality camera and take the different angles your self.

    Also it wont be at the quality of what is done at newegg.

    What thece companies use are light boxes where you have a box made entirely of transparent diffuser material and a white backdrop that is spread smoothly so that there are no sharp angles.

    You then use a DSLR in full manual mode, then adjust all needed settings.

    Under a decent 6500k lighting, the white background will have no visible depth and it will remove the need to photoshop out the background (which is very time consuming especially if you need to do like 100 new products).

  • -1 Hide
    Wish I Was Wealthy , September 10, 2011 2:39 AM
    Good! Way to go! Now I can scan my what I'm going to auction & just press a button to get the picture on to my own eBay site page.
  • 0 Hide
    brickman , September 10, 2011 3:04 AM
    It probably wouldn't work like scanning a model car and have it in a 3D model format on the PC?
  • -1 Hide
    alidan , September 10, 2011 5:42 AM
    the moment the 3d printer comes out, i will be making and selling awesome models on ebay.

    you have to know that even if it comes out in 3d, its colorless, i happen to be REALLY good at model painting.

    the printer will cost 1000$ the models will cost 10-20$ in ink like material, and painting will be 50$ a model charge. for 100$ total. 10 models later, or 1 month, and im at least in the black for a hobby of mine.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , September 10, 2011 6:37 AM
    So I can place a vase on the scanner and it will scan the it in a 3-dimensional image?

    That's intense.
  • 1 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , September 10, 2011 8:44 AM
    I want to see 3D scans of boobs now that would be impressive. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    dread_cthulhu , September 10, 2011 3:29 PM
    Heh, this is pretty cool
  • 0 Hide
    phraun , September 11, 2011 3:12 PM
    Oh, hey, a 3D scanner that doesn't output 3D! Man, what a deal.

    Stupid marketing.
  • 0 Hide
    valu3hunt3r , September 26, 2011 5:15 AM
    alidanthe moment the 3d printer comes out, i will be making and selling awesome models on ebay.you have to know that even if it comes out in 3d, its colorless, i happen to be REALLY good at model painting.the printer will cost 1000$ the models will cost 10-20$ in ink like material, and painting will be 50$ a model charge. for 100$ total. 10 models later, or 1 month, and im at least in the black for a hobby of mine.


    You will have to make some really unique models to prevent copyright infringement on other peoples work (sorry that means no models of movie franchise items or you'll end up with something like this - https://torrentfreak.com/paramount-cease-and-desist-targets-3d-printer-pirate-110628/ ) and you will also have to move very quickly before the big toy and product manufacturers cash you out of the business ($100 per model vs $1 [being generous there] cost price per unit for the China/etc sweatshops that can output 1000 units for the time you spend on 1 unit would price out out of the market before you even started).

    I suggest you try to modify one of these into a replicator, no need to worry about wasting time and effort on making and selling 3D objects or slaving at work for a paycheck (and keep it secret, that thing would start a war).