Miniature 3D Scanners Come of Age

13-12-2019 |   |  By Nnamdi Anyadike

3D scanning and printing technology, which only a couple of years ago were deemed to be bywords for groundbreaking innovation, has come of age. The development of devices, based on this technology, allows users to ‘experience’ and ‘feel’ products in a real environment. 3D first made its debut in manufacturing. But smaller models are increasingly being offered at affordable prices for home use. And now, 3D printing is about to take an even more groundbreaking leap forward.

Smartphone with High Precision ‘Phiz’ Scanner

In November, KIRI Innovation Science and Technology the young technology company located in Toronto, Canada announced the launch of the world’s first affordable high-precision scanner based on Phiz scanning technology that works on a smart-phone or laptop. ‘Phiz’ is essentially software that taps into a smart phone’s built in quality camera equipment. When an object is to be scanned it is placed onto the Phiz accompanying turntable. There the camera reads over 1.7 million data points for accuracy. A built-in algorithm further optimizes the image. A print-ready 3D scan is then generated by Phiz in less than three minutes. “With advanced AI integrated algorithms that capture millions of 3D data points with each scan and ensure every detail is as accurate as possible, Phiz™ is the little scanner with big possibilities,” the company said in a statement.

The Phiz 3D scanner has a patent-pending technology that allows the critical components of a 3D scanning system to be fully independent of each other. The scanner is the first that takes advantage of the benefits of ‘laser-triangulation’ 3D scanning - the most accurate approach to obtaining 3D models - and ‘photogrammetry’, which offers the most realistic approach to 3D scanning. The result of this ‘best of both worlds’ approach is photo-realistic high-precision 3D scans. The KIRI Phiz™ and the Phiz™ Phone Pro are both marketed as affordable high-precision scanner devices that make 3D scanning available to consumers everywhere. Phone Pro can be used by augmented reality creators, game designers, and other 3D modellers.

Samsung Showcases Note 10 3D Scanning Feature

In August, Samsung unveiled its 3D quick scanning feature for its new Galaxy Note 10 phone. The scanning app allows the creation of a photo-realistic 3D scan within seconds. At the launch of the Note 10, Samsung said that the app captures all angles of an object and then generates a 3D asset that matches it in shape, shadow and colour. It said the 3D files are simple and easy to use for virtual- or augmented-reality applications. 

EinScan ‘Pro 2X Plus’ Provides Update

The Stuttgart Germany based Shining 3D, a company that is dedicated to the development of 3D digitizing and 3D printing technologies, recently introduced an update to its ‘EinScan’ range with its Einscan Pro 2X Plus 3D scanner. 3D geometry is created by passing the scanning device over the surface of an object. The ProX 2X Plus handheld scanner, which weighs 1kg, combines a projector in the middle with two cameras on the left- and right-hand sides. The advantages of the EinScan-Pro include its lightweight and its good cost-to-quality ratio. A disadvantage though is that it does not scan colour or texture by default.

Artec 3D Launches Automated Rotation Platform

Earlier this year Artec 3D, a global leader in handheld and portable 3D scanners, launched a new automated rotation platform to support handheld data capture. The turntable rotating platform has been developed to make the scanning of small objects easier. It is powered by Bluetooth and integrated with the Artec Studio data processing software and can be teamed with the handheld Artec Space Spider. This captures 7.5 frames per second at 0.05mm 3D point accuracy. “Our goal at Artec 3D has always been to make high precision professional tools as user-friendly as possible, reducing the learning curve to a minimum. The Artec Turntable, our handheld scanners and our Artec Studio software all work intuitively together to simplify all aspects of the scanning process. No matter how complex an object may be, the Turntable will ensure that no features are missed during the scanning process. The technology nearly does all the work for you,” said Artyom Yukhin, President and CEO of Artec 3D.

Occipital Releases Improved 3D Scanner for iPads

Also this year Occipital, the US venture-funded science lab and software start-up that develops mobile computer vision applications, released its Structure Sensor Mark II. This is described as a smaller and much improved 3D scanner for iPads. 


The original Structure Sensor had a resolution of 640×480. The ‘Mark 11’, however, comes with an improved resolution of 1280×960. The distance between the cameras has been increased, thereby allowing it to capture finer details up close. The scanning range has also been increased from 4m to 10m.


By Nnamdi Anyadike

I have 30 years experience as a freelance business, economy and industry journalist, concentrating on the oil, gas and renewable energy, telecommunications and IT sectors. I have authored a number of well received in-depth market intelligence reports. And I have also spoken at conferences.

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