A team at California Tech has developed and designed a camera chip that has the ability to create 3D scans of everyday objects – and with 3D scans comes 3D printing.

These scans are so precise that they could be used to replicate objects within ‘microns’ of the original (aka very accurate). The prototype chip is small enough (less than a millimeter square)¬†to fit into a phone or camera seamlessly. The chip uses tiny LIDARs that ‘immerse an object with laser beams and can capture that object’s width, depth and height’. ¬†Interestingly LIDAR is a sensing technology we’re seeing pop-up more and more with things like self-driving cars and AI/robots.

At the moment the prototype is limited to ‘smaller items’, but the next iteration will start to look at how the chip can handle larger objects. We think this technology is simply awesome – and opens up an even more interesting world for 3D printing. For example, imagine someone walking into your store, pulling out their phone and ‘copying’ your product (printing it at home)…


Author Pippa Kulmar

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