Microsoft Receives Patent for New 3D Scanning Technology

Between the announcement of the 3MF Consortium at Build 2015 and Sequoia-funded Carbon3D revealing the work two early access members (Legacy Effects and Ford Motors) have done with their CLIP prototypes this week, it seems as though tech giants in Silicon Valley are preparing to have a breakout year with 3D printing in 2016.  HP started the parade at the end of October by introducing their Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers and announcing that they would enter the market in 2016.  They also released the HP Sprout 3D scanning workstations into the wild.  Well, another member of the 3MF consortium has been working on some 3D scanning technology worth noting.

Recently, Microsoft was granted a patent for a new scanning technology that allows everyday objects to be scanned and re-generated as 3D models without the use of a turntable. The patent, filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), postulates that the scanned 3D figures can be used to produce custom 3D prints, games, videos, animation and illustrations.


The patent proposes a way to capture objects at more natural, unique angles without having to incorporate the use of a turntable. The single depth camera takes images of the object from several different angles, capturing high resolution images with pronounced surface patterns and vivid color quality. Post-capture, the technology allows for users to crop out and remove hands and background from the image, making the scanner much easier to use without having to worry about relying on turntables to rotate at a reliable rate to produce an accurate model. The new patent scanning technology allows for more user freedom in capturing specific views or faces of an object not possible with a turntable, while also giving users the ability to modify, manipulate and edit the captured models.   Through Microsoft’s development and release of this new scanning technology, they hope to boost results for 3D prints, on screen illustrations and animation.

Windows 10 will undoubtedly be used on the HP Sprout station, so one can speculate that this could be the foundation for an eventual upgrade to Sprout’s capabilities or it could be a prelude to a new scanning technology from Microsoft, thought we already have the Kinect.  This is an interesting new development in the PC scanning world, one that we will follow as the technology develops.

As predicted, there have been a surge of new partnerships and acquisitions in the industry, and there are a lot more in the works right now.  So, stay tuned.


Oh, and where’s Apple?