Saturday, August 26, 2023

Matter and Form THREE: Third Example Scan (Car Parts)

 Matter and Form continues to reveal more examples as they continue to develop their new THREE 3D Scanner system.  The first scan demonstrated scanning very small, shiny objects (coins) that demonstrated excellent detail of fine features of the coins.  The second scan demonstrated scanning a typical turntable sized object, a shoe and demonstrated 360 degree scanning in ALL directions, including the sole.  And, now comes the third example.  The air intake on a Mustang.

This example not only demonstrates how larger targets are captured; but, give us more insight into the entire scanning and post-processing workflow.

I have worked with the original Matter and Form scanner and it is the workflow of that scanner that lead me to be a huge fan of Matter and Form's approach to 3D scanning.  So, this video was especially important to me.  It demonstrated that the designers of the THREE have built upon their earlier excellent scanning process; but, also have given us even MORE control over the final outcome by adding manual alignment tools.

Putting the three demonstration videos together, we can begin to organize our thoughts into four categories to evaluate how the THREE will help those of us that believe their is an important place for 3D scanning in education.

  • Scan Quality
  • Scan Bandwidth
  • Capture Process
  • Post-Capture Process

Each of these categories represent important advances demonstrated by the THREE and the processes presented by Matter and Form and their suitability for the classroom.


The first Matter and Form Scanner began life in 2012 and was introduced in 2013 as a crowd-funded project on Indiegogo

That means that they have had almost a decade of experience working with users and listening to what they wanted in the next generation of scanners.  They also had time to evaluate not only their initial scanning strategies; but, the strategies of others, and have opted to move to using Fixed Position, white-light scanning for the THREE rather than being handheld.  The result is vastly superior resolution and accuracy over first generation scanners.  The details in the coin captures demonstrated this.  But, the smoothness of the smooth areas of the air duct further confirm it.  There is still a little noise patterning; but, may less than any of the 3D scanners we have used.  It's very impressive.

Obviously, scan quality is at the top of everyone's list when looking forward to a new scanning platform.  But, it is not the only consideration in an educational setting.  As I have written before, the Einscan may have been able to obtain better results than the original Matter and Form in some cases;  But, from an educational value perspective the Matter and Form's workflow was superior.  And, our primary job is to provide the most valuable educational experience to the students in our care. With this new scanner, it appears we will get both very high scan results and an enhanced workflow in every respect.


 I struggled with how to describe this category of evaluationBut, I settled on the term bandwidth to cover both the breadth of the THREE's ability to capture dark as well as lighter objects and the much wider range of sizes that can be captured.  A scanner that is equally capable of capturing the details of coins and the expanse of engine parts has to be recognized as having pretty wide bandwidth!

But, special mention has to be made of the enhanced ability to capture darker objects than first generation scanners.  We struggled with this issue with ALL of the scanners we used and I cannot wait to see the final performance of the THREE in this regard firsthand.  The air duct scan looks awesome and shows real promise in this important area.  While they did mention the parts were dusty, they did not have to spray the parts to capture an excellent scan.

The first Matter and Form scanner was married to the turntable.  While the THREE benefits by being able to use a turntable, it is now freed from being locked to it.  This video not only demonstrates how this new strategy increases the bandwidth for targets; but, for those of us that have experience using handheld scanners, confirms the wisdom of taking the fixed-position, tripod approach.  It is MUCH faster and completely removes the lost tracking issues plaguing handheld users..


Where the first Matter and Form scanner excelled over all the other scanners we used was in the process they presented to the user.  Giving the user control over quicker scan times vs. immediate quality is so much more important in the classroom than one might first believe.  But, enhancing that ability by vastly improving scan speed is a real game changer for users.  Scan time appears to be stunningly fast with the THREE.  

Thankfully, the THREE retains my favorite part of the Matter and Form workflow... multi-step scan projects.   

With the low-cost handheld scanners we've used, the capture was an all or nothing proposition.  You get what you get.  Matter and Form projects, on the other hand, can always be amended and improved by adding scans.  

While it's easily missed, we see this, in action, in this video when Drew realizes that he did not capture enough overlap between two segments being captured and added a new scan covering the oversight.

Even if he had not realized this until MUCH later, he STILL could have saved the final scan by coming back and adding a new scan to the process!

While I won't get deep into the value of the feedback offered by the projection system as new scans are being considered, seeing it helps me in thinking about how I could use this feature in the classroom to engage ALL of the students in the capture process.  We'll come back to this topic as new examples are released.


Being able to have a project where multiple scans are combined automatically to form a final product was one of the things I liked most about the original Matter and Form.  But, sometimes, being able to control the alignment manually is of real benefit.  I REALLY like the strategy we see in the above video where we see the use of color coding and large numeric targets being used to aid us in manually telling the software how we want individual scans aligned to complete the whole.

From a teacher's perspective, this presents the perfect platform for students to develop critical thinking skills as they have to compare parts presented in different spacial orientations looking for point pairs.  Deciding the order in which individual scans are added to the combined project also provides valuable insight and experience.

But, I am wondering if this isn't an area where providing a hybrid approach to the post-processing interface might not be very valuable for classrooms.

We are told that the THREE will be using an edge computing strategy where all of the actual work is being performed by the scanning hardware, itself, with a browser based user interface. If this remains true for every aspect of the workflow then it has some implications for the classroom.

It means that the post-processing must be done while the scanner is attached to the browser. As an individual, I have no problem with that.  And, I can certainly appreciate it as a teacher.

But, to me, a hybrid approach would offer something special.  Distributed engagement.  By that I mean homework.

If, in addition to the onboard software of the THREE, there was an app that could handle post-processing independently of the THREE, then each student could be tasked with using those scans to create a final result.  This presents an opportunity for ownership of each student over the entire capture process, even if they only observed the original scanning.  And, it would give the teacher a better gauge with which to evaluate a student's actual understanding of the process.

If that app also included something like Tinkercad's classroom strategy, where teachers can easily bring up the work of individual student's for review, it would be even more beneficial.  While this is probably not viable for the initial release of THREE, I think it is something that would make it even more appealing to educators.

But, for now, I am just grateful that Matter and Form has not only kept the workflow we have come to appreciate; but, appears to be improving and refining it to give us even more control over our scans.


Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Reverse Engineering Challenge - Calipers or Scan

Some months ago, I was asked by a colleague, that knew I had some 3D scanners, if I could help him create a replacement part for a vintage Cadillac Allanté.

Reverse Engineering:  Using Calipers

Unfortunately,  none of the scanners available to me at that time were really up to the task.  So, I agreed to use Moment of Inspiration to recreate the part for him.

I used two methods for reverse engineering the part.  The first step was to take photos of the part from every direction.  I was able to bring these photos into Moment of Inspiration to use as guides.

 None of these photos could be completely relied upon for accurate dimensions because of the distortions due to proximity and angles when using a handheld device.  But, they were useful to help ensure I was at least close to the original as the part was designed.

Digital calipers were used to obtain accurate dimensions.  But, even here, there were some difficulties because of the location of some of the holes in the part and because the original part's features were not consistent.  It looked like the part has been modeled in clay or wax to create the original mold for the part made from some unknown resin or plastic.

Fortunately, we had the original part for comparison for with a few iterations we were able to finally arrive at a 3D printed part that accurately represented the original in a useful form.

While the final result was accurate and useful, the amount of cost, in terms of time expended, was probably WAY out of proportion to the cost of the original part were it available.  But, the part was no longer available commercially and impossible to find even as a used part.  But, being critical to the operation of the Allanté,it was the only available option if I was going to be able to help my colleaque.

But, what if I had had a different scanner available?  What might we need and how might it have been helpful? 

Reverse Engineering:  3D Scanning

3D Scanners cover a very broad category with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to many tens of thousands of dollars.  And, the technologies used by various scanners also cover quite a range from white-light to lasers.  Any scanner tackling this job has to be able to accurately capture small objects.  This part measures under 50mm in all directions.

Cadillac Part Dimensions

But, the greatest challenge to any scanner are the hidden cavities, strange undercuts, fillets and holes.

I am not sure that any 3D scanner, of any price point, could completely scan all of the features of this part.  But, could a high quality 3D scanner have been able to be helpful in speeding up the process.  And, if so how?

The first requirement would be high accuracy.  flat features would have to be flat and the general shape would have to be accurately captured so that ALL features were accurately located.  If the output of the scanner could be brought into a CAD program, features hidden from the scanner could be added.  All that would be necessary from the scanner would be accurate capture of the location and size of the entrances to the holes.  The more well defined the edges, the better.

To be a success, a scan does not have to 100% identical to the original in every aspect.  It only has to cut down on the time it takes to reach the point where a replacement part is 100% functionally identical.  If we can use a scan to accurately create the basic shape and locate holes, etc., enabling us to bring that shape into a CAD application for finishing, then that qualifies as a successful scan.  

At the very least, attempting to scan this part would be an extremely useful learning endeavor.  It would most likely require some novel placement of a turntable and, perhaps, some 3D printed props, or clay, for holding it in positions for capturing the undersides of various features.  

If anyone has a scanner and would like to give it a try, here is a link to the .STL that could be printed on an SLA printer for scanning.

 I'd love to hear about your scanning attempt.

By the way, it is possible to convert .STL files to .STEP files and bring them into Moment of Inspiration for editing.


Friday, August 11, 2023

Matter & Form THREE - Second Example Scan (Shoe)

 Well before my interest in 3D, I was sometimes called upon by investors to help them determine the potential pros and cons of investing in a particular endeavor or product.  This process is called "Due Diligence" and the skill most needed is observation to details.  It is something I enjoyed doing and continue to apply those skills when examining new products entering the marketplace.

The goal isn't to find THE perfect product.  They do not exist.  The goal is to determine whether or not a product presents a good value for the investment to be put into it.  That includes taking into account the people behind the product.  Right now, my focus is on the Matter & Form THREE 3D scanner.  And, the team behind this product is one reason for my interest.  I have experience using not one; but, two Matter & Form scanners in multiple classroom situations.  Moreover, I have had excellent response to my questions regarding the best practices using those scanners.

The original Matter & Form scanner is not a perfect solution.  But, when compared to all of the scanners we owned at YouthQuest Foundation and Phillips Programs, including the Einscan, it was the easiest to use and provided the most educational value because of the scanning strategy utilized by Matter & Form.  The software not only encouraged experimentation; but, provided the feedback students need in order to continually improve their results.

Now we come to the place where this same company has announced a new product offering much higher resolution and much higher accuracy.   And, I have to believe that the solution and accuracy not only applied to the underlying mesh; but, with two 13mp Sony imaging chips, the material captures and wrapping as well.

But, for now, all we can do as pertains to performing our due diligence is to rely on the scan examples we have so far.  And, neither, so far, have included capturing the materials.  That's OK.  Because, it lets us focus on the underlying mesh with no distractions.  Here is a link to the original scan that Matter & Form uploaded to Sketchfab.

I downloaded the .STL version from Sketchfab so that I could evaluate the scan using MeshMolder, a wonderful inexpensive application.  

Matter and Form also posted an image of the original shoe on the Reddit 3D Scanning forums.  Without the original image we have no way to ascertain just how accurately the THREE 3D scanner replicated the shoe.   I cropped the image to better zoom in on the details.

Original Scanned Show

Having the image of the original immediately cleared up one of my reservations at first glance.  It was not a smooth leather shoe; but, a cloth shoe, which accounts for some of the texture along the sides.  But, even so, there appears to be more texture than actually existed.  Fortunately, when I pointed this out on the Reddit forums relative to some artifacts in the coin scans, I immediately got this reply.

6 days ago

I did notice some noise in places that are smooth in the coin. I've always been a bit bothered by smooth surfaces not being scanned as smoothly as they are in real life. Accurate capture of NON-features should be just as important as capturing detailed features.

I suspect this is capture device noise, which we also face when using high ISO in digital cameras. Experienced photographers sometimes use layering or stacking of multiple images to reduce noise by pixel averaging across the layers. I'm wondering if we could be given a choice to use a similar 'layered multi-scan' technique to cancel noise in a 3D scan to smooth flat areas without compromising actual detail.

6 days ago

Yes it's noise from the cameras, you're right. We've identified three major sources of noise in our scans. And your idea of multi layering is something we want to explore to compensate for one of the sources. Thanks for the great idea!

That shows me that they are already on the issue. So, for now, I'm not too concerned about it.

So, let's look at some specific areas of the shoe to see what we can gleam from this example.


A good place to start in evaluating the accuracy of the scan is the are around the front of the sole.

Image of the Shoe Sole

Scanned Result - Shoe Sole

When we compare images, it's plain to see that the THREE was able to capture the texture of the sole better than any previous scanner we'd used.  There is some roughness around the area of the black stripe; but, look at the capture of the end of the shoe string!  And, the transition ridge around the top where the fabric meets the rubber sole!  Those are excellent results.  


Image - Shoe Laces

THREE Scan - Shoe Laces

The THREE made a valiant effort to capture the texture of the shoe laces. But, the movement of the laces during the scanning process conspired against it.  Here are the notes from the Sketchfab upload.

Captured with MAF THREE Using a Turntable twice. Once with the sole down on the turntable, 360 degree, 9 captures Once with the sole facing out, 180 degree, 5 captures. Aligned in software. Because our cleaning tools aren’t finished yet, this was slightly cleaned in meshlab. Soft things like shoes don’t hold their shape when rotating, so the laces moved and needed to be deleted.

That also accounts for the missing data under the shoe laces in one place.  While not absolutely perfect, I'm very impressed that multiple scans on flexible shoe laces was able to deliver this result.  I'm guessing these are shoes in actual use.  Had they been prop shoes, this issue might have been able to be fixed using Super Glue to ensure the laces could not move.  This isn't a scanner's problem.  This is a target's problem.


The one area in which I do see some issues would be with some of the seam stitching.

Image - Show Stitching

THREE Scan - Shoe Stitching

The stitching where the toe and sides are joined was captured perfectly.  But, the stitching right above that, along the side of the laces and around the opening are less well defined.  Even so, they CAN be seen when we click on the above image to bring it to full size.  I believe that the stitches, themselves, are black.  And, black is notoriously hard to capture.  I don't know if this is a clue as to how well the THREE handles Black or not.  But, it is something to note as we make our observations.  But, In this case, it seems to matter very little.  The stitching WAS able to be captured.  It just is not as pronounced as the original.


I am going to go back to my original capture of my examination in Meshmolder for this one.


Remember, what we are looking at is a mesh created by combining 14 different scans.  And, the result appears to be seamless.  The MIGHT be a hint of a seam where the underside of the sole and sides of the sole meet. But, I don't think so.

And, the sole, itself, is wonderfully captured!  The detail is very, very encouraging for those of us potential;y looking to upgrade our scanning capabilities from a company we admire and trust.

I hope looking over my shoulder as I do my own "Due Diligence" in trying to assess the Matter and Form THREE is as useful to you as the process has been for me.

Fun with Scans

By the way, one of the reasons I use Meshmolder to evaluate the mesh is that it is a sculpting application.  First, it allows me to examine and manipulate the mesh in a variety of ways.   And, secondly, I want to be sure that output from the THREE is suitable for mash-ups and sculpting manipulation.  Here is my vertex view in Meshmolder.

Download this image and zoom in to see the quality of the vertex mesh.

The developer f MeshMolder also has a very low cost product called Meshrender that is a LOT of fun.  I couldn't help myself.  I had to see how the THREE 3D Scanner scan looked in Meshrender as a light blue plastic shoe.  Here is the result:

Meshrender - Light Blue Plastic (THREE Scan)

The surprising thing is that the image is MIRRORED in Meshrender.  I don't know if it's something I did, reorienting the mesh, or a natural Meshrender behavior.  In any case, it does not matter.  I simply flipped the image to correct the orientation.

Meshrender Output Flipped

As we move forward, I hope to experiment with Meshmolder and Meshrender with future test scans.  Scanning offers us a LOT of potential.


I found out what I did wrong when I brought the shoe scan into Meshrender the first time and re-oriented it.  Here is a new render that did NOT mirror the mesh.  Cinderella meets Star Wars with a glass tennis shoe in space.

Matter & Form Scanned Shoe - Meshrender

Obviously, I am easily amused! 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Matter & Form THREE 3D Scanner - Update on the Coin Scans

 Matter and Form added a new blog article that sheds a little more light on the capabilities of their new THREE 3D scanner now in development.

I refer to this image: Click to see the full size image.

Coin Scan (Left) compared to Coin Source (Right)

It is important to point out that the coin was first sprayed with a powder to reduce specularity.  This is a common and necessary practice when trying to scan shiny objects.  The powder does have the affect, although minimal, of reducing the sharpness of features. 

That said, there are two things to note when evaluating a scan.the first is the ability to capture small features accurately.  We can see by the quality of the lettering and the fact that all of the coins embosses features were accurately captured that the THREE has great resolution.

But, there is another to note.  FLAT features should be FLAT.  Without the side-by-side view, it could have beeb assumed that the THREE had picked up artifacts, due to digital noise, where the coins was assumed to be completely flat.  Having the image of the source demonstrates that flat areas are, indeed flat, and the tiny bumps in the scan are accurate captures of even finer features.

This is an impressive scan and I, for one, am really looking forward to more samples.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

First Video Demonstrating the THREE 3D Scanner from Matter & Form

Matter & Form has been seeking interaction from the 3D scanning community on the Reddit 3D Scanning forums as they continue to develop the THREE 3D Scanner I mentioned in my earlier post.  It's tough crowd.  And, rightly so.  Most of us with experience with scanners costing less than $10,000 have wanted more out of our scanners than we've gotten.

That is not to say that we haven't gotten some value out of our scanners.  At Youthquest, our at-risk students enjoyed using  the 1st generation Cubify scanner and the inexpensive xyzPrinting handheld scanner even with these scanners limited resolution and loss of tracking issues.  And, they were able to gain valuable experience in problem solving as they learned how to improve scans.  Even so, quicker, more reliable scans would always have been appreciated.

The Reddit 3D scanning community rightly demanded visible proof of the new scanner's capabilities by asking for tough scanning challenges.  One of the challenges was a pile of coins.

Now, a pile of coins, it turns out, is an excellent demonstration of a scanner's abilities.  Specularity, or the shininess of coins, is a big challenge to any 3D scanner.  And, the low depth of the features of a coin require a very high level of resolution cloud point to be able to discern a coin's tiny features.  The Matter and Form team took them up on the challenge and created this video.

While the results, for the most part, are self evident that this new scanner has excellent resolution, there is even more to see in this video for those of us who have longed for a scanner that could be successfully used in a variety of classroom situations or that could produce the fine detail required for accurately capturing things like antique auto parts for 3D printing.

50 Micron Resolution & Accuracy

Along with the video itself, Matter and Form provided links to download the results of the scan.  To help me better analyze the actual resolution, I uploaded the scans in Meshlab and painted the scan in various colors.  Here are two GIFs I captured as I explored the output.

Coins captured by Matter & Form THREE 3D Scanner

When you consider how low the relief is in this coin, the detail is remarkable!  And, we have to consider that some of the original detail has to have been lost because the coin had been sprayed with a dulling powder to reduce specularity.  But, another way to evaluate the scan is by looking at the quality of the mesh as demonstrated when only the triangles are observed.

Mesh Triangles Captured By Matter & Form THREE

I first used Meshlab's measurement features to get an idea of the size of the coin.  It was about 30,8mm across. What jumps out immediately is the density of the mesh.  But, if we click on this image to zoom to a larger view, we can also see the uniformity of the mesh.  This is a great quality mesh!  And, that is important with scanned output, since we usually plan to bring it into 3D design processing for mash-ups, touch-up and other enhancements before printing.

Mesh Uniformity from the M&F THREE 3D Scanner

And, while you may not have noticed while the video was playing, this was scanned at the MEDIUM settings for scan quality!!  (10:15 in the video)


While Drew, from Matter & Form, specifically mentions that they have not yet turned their attention to optimizing scanning speed, the next thing I noted in the video was that even in the non-optimized state, the THREE 3D scanner seems infinitely faster than any other scanner I have used in the past.  Consider this clip I grabbed from the Youtube video.

As this clip demonstrates, it only took around 4 seconds to capture and about 5 seconds to process the scan.  This is all done in the scanner, itself.  The speed is NOT dependent on the computer being used to show the interface.  This means we can expect uniform speed performance regardless of the platform we used to connect to the scanner.  Since we use everything from multi-processor i7 computers to Google Kids Tablets, this is an intriguing capability. 

While it remains to be seen how this performs in highly complex multi-pass turntable scans with full texture, it certainly shows promise.


The scan process, itself, is visible in the small window at the top right of the Youtube video. Here is another grab from the Youtube video to help us focus on the process.  (There is no sound and it's best to click and expand the view before viewing.)

As you can see, a series of images are projected onto the target objects using a white-light DLP projector.  The two Sony 13mp cameras capture the deformations in these patterns to calculate depth.  But, if we stop here when evaluating a scanning solution, we miss the real heart of the benefit of a great scanning process.  And, that is in how much can we, as users, control the parameters.

The reason why this is important is that the process we see in the above image is only a micro-process.  The REAL process has to do with the evolution of our understanding of all of the factors that go into a successful result in any given situation.  We need to be able learn more and more with each scanning session so that it takes less and less time to capture a successful scan in each subsequent session.

And, here is where Matter & Form's software has excelled relative to all of the other scanning solutions with which I've had experience.  They provide a by-the-numbers approach with excellent visual feedback.  Consider this short clip.  (Click for larger view. This clip has sound)

By saying Matter & Form provides us with a "by-the-numbers" approach, I am talking about the use of sliders with clearly documents values.  And, when I talk about feed back, I mean the real-time updates of the images showing how changes to the sliders affect the work area.  It was this approach that made the original Matter & Form the most effective scanner in the classroom of all that we used., including the Einscan.  

I'll go back to my video game days with Astrocade to explain why this is so important.  The reason we were rated #1 by consumer reports, even though our console was much more expensive than the Atari and others, was that our game designers understood the nature of failure.  That was because they had also designed the original coin-op versions.  They knew that it was important that every level increased the challenges, making failure a design feature.  But, when a person failed, the worse possible outcome was that they believed that it was because the system, itself, made it impossible to succeed.  Players would not put another quarter into a machine unless they believed they understood how they could do better the next time they tried.  People need to know they can improve.

Each time we scan with a specific setting, remembering the visible feedback we got from that setting, we have the basis for a new starting place should that scan not turn out as we had hoped.  Precise numbers allow us to bracket values until we get the optimal result no matter how many tries that might involve.  Our students learned from each scanning pass and, ultimately, were able to come up with the best starting place for every situation.  This was not true of most of our other scanners which left student puzzling when a capture lost tracking or failed..  

NOTE: I actually would like to retain the image during the scanning process.  But, I suspect that it might reduce the processing load by removing it during heavy calculations.


Matter & Form seems to be retaining the best aspects of their proven user interface while delivering a much faster scan at an even much higher resolution.  There was a lot of skepticism about the edge computing strategy where the workload of the scanning process is performed entirely in the scanner and does not rely on the power of the attached computer.  But, at least we know that single scan sessions are quick and the resulting mesh is fantastic quality with very, very impressive resolution.   So far, I am very excited about the potential.


This video is impressive.  But, it only addresses the depth resolution.  The other aspect of scanning is material capture. None of my previous scanning experience has been with having scanner based on such high resolution imaging cameras. The two 13mp imaging cameras used by Matter & Form in the new THREE 3D Scanner have two positive characteristics.  The first is that they are based on chips made by Sony.  I have been a fan of Sony video products snce 1967 or 1968 and if any company knows how to capture clean video it's Sony. And, the 13mp size is in a sweet spot for great dynamic range and low noise.  So, I'm very helpful that we will see surprisingly great material capture as well as depth capture.  It's going to be fun seeing what come next as more videos are released in the coming days, weeks and months.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

New Promising 3D Scanner Announced by Matter & Form

For almost as many years as this blog has existed, I have been interested in the promise of 3D scanning for a variety of reasons.  The first scanner that I owned was the 1st generation Cubify scanner from 3D Systems.  

We actually got a lot of use out of that scanner in our work with at-risk young people at YouthQuest Foundation in combination with our full-color Z450 powder printer.  In fact, we were able to scan dozens of cadets and produce 3D prints.  While not the highest resolution color scanner, it was something our cadets and their families really appreciated.

Over the years we added the 2nd generation Cubify 3D Scanner, the xyzPrinting 3D scanner,  the Einscan from Shining 3D and a few scanners based on the Intel Sense.  But, one of our favorites for scanning objects was the Matter and Form tabletop scanner.  It was, and remains, the easiest scanner for our students to use and we relied on it to teach the concepts of using 3D scanning for historical preservation and sharing of rare artifacts.  It's a great scanner for the classroom.

It was the Matter and Form scanner, along with our cooperative work with the students of iTech Preparatory school in Vancouver, Washington that convinced me that having students cooperate with local historical sites by scanning the site's artifacts would be a wonderful addition to a school's educational program.


Now, Matter and Form has introduced a new scanner that promises to be a breakthrough product toward making this a reality.


The first thing to note about this new scanner is that it does NOT require a computer with a heavy duty GPU processor.  Note that it can be used with ANY computer or tablet.

THREE 3D Scanner using a Tablet

The reason for this remarkable capability is that the software is integrated into the THREE 3D scanner and interfaces with any computer via a browser using edge technology.  As far as I know, this is a first in the industry.  Moreover, Matter and Form indicates that an API will make controlling the scanning process available to end-users for those that wish to customize the capture process. 

The new scanner includes a 13 mp Sony sensor (or sensors?) and a white-light DLP with something they call ChromaSpec™ technology capturing geometry in full color.   They promise "metrology-level resolution."  The only scanners I know that have made that claim were well out of reach financially for most of us.  But, while Matter and Form does not yet specify a price, they do claim all this power will come as "and unmatched value" and based on the price-performance of their existing 3D scanner I expect that they are not exaggerating.  

Apparently, they will be introducing the new scanner through a Kickstarter campaign at a 50% one-time discount.

In the meantime, they will be releasing new announcements via email to those who sign up to keep informed.  You can sign up at

I know and trust this company from the many years they supported our work at YouthQuest.  And, I am VERY excited to learn more about this new product that offers so much promise.  As I learn more I will keep you posted.