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Matterform crowdfunds a simple, well-designed 3D scanner that could arrive this summer

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MakerBot has been the trailblazer when it comes to bringing 3D printing to the masses, but another company may beat it to the punch before it can do the same for 3D scanners. Matterform is looking to produce a simple, low-profile 3D scanner, and it's launched an Indiegogo campaign in support of the effort. The Photon 3D scanner appears to be about the size of a simple printer when shut, and then unfolds to reveal a scanning surface when being used. A circular tray rotates the object being scanned, while a camera and lasers collected data on the object over the course of about three minutes. It can scan objects as large as 9.75-inches tall and 7.5-inches wide, and it's being offered to backers for about $392.

Matterform is also building software that works alongside the Photon to facilite scanning. The company's emphasis is on making a scanner that's simple to use, which could help to make 3D printing more accessible. Consumers who aren't able to customize existing objects or create their own with modeling software may find limited use in a 3D printer, but owning both a 3D printer and a 3D scanner could allow replication of household or handmade items. Matterform estimates the earliest Photon deliveries will go out in July, but only if the company meets its nearly $80,000 goal — with 32 days remaining, the company still has about $60,000 to go.