Your current smartphone probably offers a pretty great camera already, and it’s only getting better. The entire industry is racing to pack more megapixels and features into every new device. In the meantime though, one company is offering a clever little accessory that turns your mobile camera into a 3D scanner.
Bevel is a sleek smartphone attachment from Matter and Form that plugs into your headphone jack. It’s on Kickstarter now, though space is running out fast.
Bevel uses your smartphone’s camera, and features an “eye safe laser light” to help scan an object in three dimensions. Just pan over the object or person you want to capture. Once that’s done you can rotate the image, turn it into a GIF, share it with a friend, or send it out over social media. Of course, you can also send that data to a 3D printer and create a new physical object.
The technology currently works from up to a meter away. In the future though, the company thinks you’ll eventually be able to create a 3D image of an entire building or even a whole city.
On a basic level, the goal is to make 3D printing accessible to everyone. “I want to see people like my sister and my mom creating 3D content,” Matter and Form CEO Drew Cox told TechnoBuffalo.
Digging a little deeper the company is creating a back-end platform called Cashew. The new software, which is currently invite-only, makes it easy to share 3D images. At some point in the future when smartphones come packing their own 3D cameras, Cashew (or something like it) will likely still power the experience.
“No one has a hub to easily transfer 3D images back and forth socially,” said Cox, “we think that Cashew is going to become a necessity.”
Bevel works with Android and iOS using a free app. It recharges through the USB port, and promises about a day of battery life. It draws a small amount of power from your phone while in use, but not enough that you’ll really notice.
You can order one now for $49, though it won’t ship until March 2016. There’s also a fancy limited edition Bevel Pro with a brushed aluminum design for $300. The project recently hit their crowd-funding goal, so there’s no risk it won’t raise enough money. Matter and Form also already successfully sold a larger 3D scanner, meaning the company has experience delivering a physical product.