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Together, let’s take a look at the worldwide situation: in a new economy based on knowledge, the survival of a company will more than ever rely on the ability of their people to innovate. Steve Jobs, co-funder of Apple and a model of innovation, said one day: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
Like in many other markets, things are moving really fast in 3D scanning and digital solutions. To perform in this field, you have to come up with a creation, not a reaction.
So all this leads to the big question: what is the future of 3D scanning? I obviously can’t pretend that I know the future but I can definitely give you my opinion and we can take some time to dream about what it could be.
First of all, we can think about all the factors that could be improved in the existing 3D scanning technologies. Speed of acquisition, accessibility of the technology and simplification of the technology will certainly be three big improvements in the future. That could open the world of 3D scanning to ordinary people and make a 3D scanner as easy to operate as a cellular phone. And talking of cell phones, why can’t we imagine in several years having a cellphone with a 3D scanner! We already have pretty good digital cameras in those high tech toys! And if you think that I have lost my mind, take a look at what cell phones looked like fifteen years ago compared to the latest high tech “Transformers” Phone (NEC N-01A):
The future 3D scanners could also give you more information about what you are scanning. We already have the geometry and the color of the object but we could probably add the specular information (finish) and material of the object for multimedia applications. Geometry and feature recognition simple shapes or more complex like human faces) would be amazing for automatic alignment in inspection or design applications. You could even get the GPS localisation for archeological site scanning or for something like 3D Geotracking (yes, I added the 3D, it’s probably professional deformation…).
For all those reasons, we can be pretty confident that, in the future, 3D scanning will be more into our lives with new amazing (and sometimes weird) applications. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:
In the multimedia and entertainment field, they started by using 3D scanning to integrate life-like objects in movies and video games. Take a look at this video that shows how fast the visual effects have improved in the last century:
After that, they could decide to go a little bit further. For example, integrating the scan of your face in your favourite video game (like World of Warcraft) or a special object that you have at home in Second Life…
You can also imagine that, one day, you would be able to see the complete collection of the Louvres and other museums in front of your computer, with 3D digital galleries. Some museums have already started to provide 3D representation of artworks:
Another nice application would be in the medical field. They already use the scanner to create custom made orthesis/prothesis but again they could go a little bit further. A person could decide to scan their complete body and keep the data as a back-up to be able to have plastic surgery after an accident. A client could also choose from a selection of his favourite movie star’s body parts or the doctor could use a scan of the 25 years old version of you that you scanned 20 years ago.
Ok, I agree that this plastic surgery application is a little bit creepy but like any other technology, there is an ethical issue when you go a little bit too far… But if you push the technology to its limit with creativity and innovation, you will always be amazed by the results. So always try to be creative and see you in 10 years with some new cool Handyscan 3D scanners!