Geo Week News

May 11, 2011

Moving 3D data capture toward manufacturing

Autodesk just posted a very interesting interview between Wired editor Chris Anderson and Autodesk CEO Carl Bass. In it, Bass announces the beta version of 123d, a program that’s going to be freely distributed and be intended to allow a new class of DIY “makers” to quickly create designs for 3D objects that can be then printed from the cloud.

Make sure you stay until the 4:00 mark, where Bass begins to talk about the possibilities of photogrammetry. He agrees with Alice Labs and Online Interactive and a number of other firms that are working toward making the point clouds created by photographs and video particularly useful. Bass envisions a day, coming soon, where a few photos from an iPhone can be uploaded to the cloud, made into a 3D model, and then printed out as your very own keepsake. Take a look:


How does this change manufacturing? How does this change reverse-engineering? How long until 123d accepts point clouds natively and scanners are inexpensive enough that many people have them? 

Also, I’m sort of baffled that he and Anderson don’t mention Shapeways, which does exactly what Bass says will soon be done, as in having a place where you can upload your design and just print out one or many in a variety of materials. 

Does your kid like trucks? Scan the bulldozer across the street and print one out for your kid. Wish you had that exact item, only a little smaller? Scan it, modify it, and print it. 

I think this trend is huge for data capture industry in many ways. DIY manufacturing is right on the horizon. How can you take advantage of it?

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