The hype surrounding 3D printing has only grown since it moved from only being a theoretical idea to a physical product consumers can now buy. However one of the main issues holding back widespread adoption has been the difficulty in creating the 3D blueprints that are needed to have something printed. The creation of databases full of pre-made designs has helped a lot in this regard but that can still leave a user with the time consuming process of searching for the right design to match their needs. Volumental have another idea, one that lead to a successful Kickstarter campaign and more recently a partnership with Softkinetic, makers of next generation 3D cameras.
Swedish startup Volumental have developed a cloud based 3D scanning solution. Using any OpenNI compliant depth camera such as the Microsoft Kinect or the semi-recently Apple purchased PrimeSense you can scan and capture any object you may wish to print. The data will then be uploaded to Volumentalâ€™s cloud which uses in house developed algorithms to turn the scan into a 3D model ready to be printed. Simple, quick, and easy even for beginners to understand.
The Kickstarter campaign they ran that closed in early September allowed them to hire a developer who has been working on creating a separate web app that will allow users to create 3D models perfectly suited for 3D printing. They have called it Scan-2-Print and it is understandable why it found popularity, if all you have to do is show an object to a camera and press 'print' then anyone could begin using a 3D printer. They had been looking for $20,000 and received a little over $27,000 from only 174, which shows an impressive level of individual investment from customers interested in their solution.
More recently at CES they announced the aforementioned partnership with Softkinetic which Volumental's Product Manager, Mikael Andersson explained to us, â€œThe partnership is that SoftKinetic will offer a scanning-enabled 3D camera with 4x the depth resolution than competing cameras and that we will optimize our 3D scanning software to work with that 3D camera.â€
Caroline Walerud, CEO of Volumental, also said, â€œCombining the precise and high resolution data we get from the SoftKinetic camera with our cutting-edge 3D reconstruction algorithms, we will be able to bring a new level of accuracy and quality to 3D scanning for both professionals and consumers. This opens up new possibilities for 3D capture, making 3D scanning widely accessible.â€
Volumental will soon be releasing their Scan-2-Print app and are set to continue working on 3D capturing the world with the goal being to make more and better 3D models from standard hardware. The Kickstarter campaign helped them raise a little bit of necessary funding but now they are in the early stages of seeking capital. 3D printing has a big future ahead of it and Volumental look to be strongly placed to take advantage of what will be a growth market in the coming years.