Yes, start-ups do still get funding the old-fashioned way (begging is popular, I think), but it’s now becoming more common for tech firms to go the route of crowd-funding for cash to ramp up operations and 3D-related firms are starting to pop up all over the place there.
The most intriguing one this week is a company called Lynx Laboratories, which is pitching its Lynx A Camera, what they’re billing as “the world’s first point-and-shoot 3D camera.” Whether or not my phone loaded with 123D Catch counts as a “point-and-shoot 3D camera” notwithstanding, they’ve got a pretty interesting pitch:
It’s a light, plastic device shaped like a tablet. It has specialized, front-mounted optics including a 640×480 color camera and a 3D sensor. On the front, there’s a large, 14″ color LCD screen for an instant and accurate view of imaging results. You can navigate your captured models using joysticks, just like a videogame controller. The device has a powerful graphics card for capture/render and high-capacity storage. The battery is good for four hours. It fixes the annoying stuff (bad battery life, small screens, costly storage) of conventional cameras.
Personally, I haven’t found a problem with battery life on digital cameras and “costly storage” is pretty a relative term when you can get 32 gig SD cards for $25 and I’m not sure why’re they’re comparing this with a conventional camera anyway, but I think that’s beside the point. Basically, they’ve developed a completely self-contained scan-to-model camera that you can buy as part of this campaign for $1,999 (Interesting question: Do you have to pay sales tax if you “buy” something through Kickstarter? Technically you’re being rewarded for your pledge. Is this a loophole?).
That’s pretty hot.
Already, they’ve raised $36,187 of the $50k they fund at, and there are 41 days to go, so I’m assuming they’ll hit their mark and then some. And why not? While we don’t have any good idea of accuracy, there’s nothing on the market like this all in one package. No laptop required here. Of course, that’s the rub. The accuracy. The results they have as examples on the site are hardly engineering-quality. Are they even good enough for video games? Well, the cool piece there is that they sell a version that comes with motion-capture capabilities. Now THAT could prove useful, considering the way they do motion capture nowadays, with those suits and markers and what not.
Motion capture with no markers and no post-processing? Someone’s got to be into that.
You can watch the full video of their pitch here:
Also of note this week is the DeltaMaker, yet another 3D printer (hopefully, they won’t get sued by 3D Systems the way FormLabs has been). If you get in right now, you can grab one for $1,399, but it looks like they’ll eventually sell for $1,600+.
The pitch here is a combination of form and function. They say it’s faster than other extrusion printers for the desktop, but they also try to sell just how pretty it is to watch it work. And, yeah, I guess it does look pretty cool, but I think this might be something of a stretch: “We see DeltaMakers prominently displayed in your living room, as your guests watch a reproduction of Venus de Milo arise over the course of a dinner party.”
One thing that’s actually really cool about this project is that it incorporates two pieces of technology that, themselves, started as Kickstarter projects, the linear bearing systems and the extrusion head. It’s meta-Kickstarter!
And, in case you’re wondering which is hotter, scanning or printing, know that this project is already at $95k, on its way to $107k as a goal, with 24 days to go. We’ll see which of these projects has the greater momentum.
For the full details on the DeltaMaker, check the video: