MakerBot founder Bre Pettis today announced the Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner prototype it intends to sell alongside its Replicator 3D printers. The scanner uses a combination of cameras and lasers to scan an object and create a digital file that can then be printed using one of MakerBot's replicators. The company says you won't need any experience with design or 3D modeling software to make use of the scanner, and wants to see it used by businesses, educational facilities, and in the home. The Digitizer will launch this fall, Pettis said.

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"The MakerBot Digitizer is an innovative new way to take a physical object, scan it, and create a digital file — without any design, CAD software or 3D modeling experience at all — and then print the item again and again on a MakerBot Replicator 2 or 2X Desktop 3D Printer," Pettis said. The Digitizer is capable of scanning objects up to 8 inches by 8 inches in less than three minutes. As the Digitizer scans your object, it spins in a circle on top of a platform. "This is kind of like what happened when Flynn (in Tron) gets digitized into the game grid," Pettis said. "This takes us from being a 3D printer company into being a company that's building out a 3D ecosystem."

"i want you to feel that rush when you make something and it's yours and you're in control of it."

Before Pettis revealed the actual Digitizer, he delved into some of the ways people around the world are using MakerBot. One dad made orthotics so his daughter could appear tall enough to ride a rollercoaster, payments startup LevelUp prototyped a new phone scanner, and Pettis himself made shot glasses. Some MakerBot-built products will have an even bigger impact on our lives, Pettis said. "Our biggest customer is NASA, which just makes the nerd in me so happy," he said. "They can make cheap prototypes on our machines before using their high end one."

Ben Popper contributed to this report.