CIRCUITS and DEVICES
10 March 2014
3D Scanner Unveiled
So, you've been thinking hard about getting a 3D printer but don't really know how to create the files that they use. One bit of good news is that
Adobe has added 3D printing to the Photoshop Creative Cloud (but
apparently not the Creative Suite). So, what if you don't subscribe to the
Cloud, or you aren't particularly adept at Photoshop? What if you just want to
make copies of things that are lying around in your house? Well, check out
Matterform, billed as "the world's first affordable high-resolution 3D scanner."
According to co-inventer Adam Brandejs, "We thought it would be
popular with the hacker/maker crowd, but the applications are much broader
than that. We've had interest from designers, artists, archeologists, dentists,
and even parents who want to scan their kid's artwork."
The Matterform is made up of a moving HD camera head with dual lasers
and a rotating platform. It comes fully assembled, so all you have to do is
place an object on the platform, push a button, and let it do the rest.
Scanned items can be up to 9. 8 in ( 25 cm) high, 7 in ( 18 cm) in diameter,
and 6. 6 lb ( 3 kg) in weight. The scanner can handle details as small as 0.02
in (0.43 mm), and a full high-res scan takes less than 10 min. You then can
export the file in STL, OBJ, or PLY format. Matterform supports Windows 7+
and Mac OS 10.7+ platforms. You can buy one online at
www.matterform.net for $579. ▲
■ The Matterform 3D scanner
captures an object in less than
It's a Real Crock
If you thought it would take a while before the Internet of Things got out of hand, it may be time to rethink that. First of all, recall that the folks at Belkin introduced the WeMo home automation line (www.
belkin.com/wemo) a year or so ago which consists of a range of devices that can be controlled from
anywhere via an iOS or Android. For example, you can replace a wall switch with the WeMo Light Switch,
enabling you to turn a light on or off from anywhere in the world, as long as your home is equipped with a
Wi-Fi network and you have a 3G or 4G LTE connection on your smartphone or tablet. Or, you can replace
an AC wall outlet with the WeMo Switch and get remote control of TVs, lamps, fans, and so forth.
The company may have gone a bridge too far,
however, by partnering with Jardin Corporation —
hawker of more than 120 brands of consumer
products including Mr. Coffee, First Alert, Oster, and
(most pertinently) Crock-Pot. The first product to
emerge from the partnership is the WeMo-enabled
Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker which lists at $99.99
(as opposed to $29.99 for a five-quart manual
model). As "the first smartphone-controllable slow
cooker, it allows you to remotely adjust the cooker's
settings, receive reminders from it, change the
cooking time, and so on.
Seriously now. Do you really want to do that?
Isn't the point of a slow cooker that you can throw in
a bunch of ingredients, completely ignore the
appliance all day, and come home to an overcooked,
mushy, nasty tasting dinner? ▲
■ The WeMo-enabled Crock-Pot®, controllable
via iOS or Android.