The Digitizer is still in the prototyping phase, but it will ultimately be able to scan any object and turn it into a model that can be 3D printed. Currently, people normally use software to design those models.
By requiring so little technical knowledge, MakerBot is helping democratize 3D printing for almost anyone to use (assuming they have the money to buy a 3D printer and Digitizer). Children could use it to channel their creativity on school projects, and university researchers could do easier prototyping. Once everyone has a 3D printer – a future that Pettis imagines – it could have huge implications on our lifestyle. If a friend loves our antique figurine, we could print a copy for them; if our favorite bowl cracks, we could make another, instead of rushing out to the store to buy one.
This announcement comes just two months after MakerBot unveiled its newest 3D printer, the Replicator 2X, at CES. And it comes four years after MakerBot announced its very first 3D printer at SXSW in 2009.
We took some time during SXSW to sit down with Pettis. His excitement is evident as he talks about the Digitizer, how it fits into the 3D printing landscape, and what the future will look like. Here’s the video.
Tech Cocktail’s SXSW video series is part of the Tech Cocktail Conversations podcast - subscribe on iTunes.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Yappem, the title sponsor of Tech Cocktail’s special SXSW video series. And thank you to Keep America Beautiful, the supporting video sponsor. Also, thank you to The Downtown Podcast‘s Dylan Jorgensen and Jackie Jensen for conducting and filming this interview.