Home 3D Scanner Matter and Form Unveils THREE 3D Scanner – Interview with Trevor Townsend

Matter and Form Unveils THREE 3D Scanner – Interview with Trevor Townsend

Matter and Form, a company based in Canada, was established back in 2013 with a clear objective in mind: to create the very first 3D scanner that would be accessible to all. After completing this mission with a successful crowdfunding campaign, the team continued and expanded their efforts to develop software and hardware to address common issues with existing scanners and create their new product, the THREE scanner. In an interview with 3Druck.com, CEO and co-founder Trevor Townsend shares his expertise and insight into 3D scanning technology.

Since its beginnings, Matter and Form has released several products. By 2020, it became apparent that there were many common problems with all 3D scanners. They were limited to a narrow range of capturable object sizes, incapable of scanning specific colours, and constantly struggling with lightning problems. The team also noted that even the cheapest 3D scanners required powerful and expensive computers. Recognising a significant opportunity, Matter and Form dedicated the last four years to developing a solution that overcomes all these problems: the new THREE scanner.

THREE 3D Scanner

Matter and Form THREE enhances traditional 3D scanning by allowing you to scan objects of various sizes, from small items like coins to larger ones like cars. Its distinctive ChromaSpec™ technology uses the full spectrum of visible light to capture both geometry and color with remarkable precision, eliminating the need for scan sprays. This technology ensures accurate results for objects of any color, from the lightest shades to the darkest tones.

THREE is the first 3D scanner with fully onboard software that operates seamlessly in any modern web browser, regardless of your operating system. Whether you’re using a computer, tablet, iPad, Linux, Chromebook, Windows, iOS, or Android device, THREE is compatible and ready to empower your creative vision. Unlike traditional scanners that require installed software or cloud services, THREE operates as a self-contained unit with an internal storage solution, making it remarkably portable and user-friendly.

Interview with Trevor Townsend

In an interview with 3Druck.com, CEO and co-founder Trevor Townsend explains how THREE enhances usability and efficiency compared to other 3D scanners on the market. He also provides insight into the latest innovations and discusses potential future applications for 3D scanning technology.

In your opinion, how important is it to have a versatile 3D scanning device for a wide range of applications?

CEO and co-founder Trevor Townsend

We think it’s very important! 3D scanners have traditionally been made with fixed-focus cameras, which meant they were constrained to work at specific distances and were therefore limited in the range of object sizes they could scan. The only solution was to own several 3D scanners. We think having one scanner that is able to successfully scan a nearly unlimited range of object sizes provides a lot of value, not just because it makes it unnecessary to purchase multiple 3D scanners, but also because the user only needs to learn one scanning software workflow.

How does the Matter and Form THREE improve usability and efficiency compared to other 3D scanners?

THREE eliminates all of the typical 3D scanning problems, so the user spends their time getting great results, rather than trying to figure out they’ve done “wrong”. THREE has focusable cameras, so it can scan tiny details like what you’d see on a coin, or large objects like motorcycles, and everything in between. THREE’s ChromaSpec algorithm uses the full spectrum of visible light for scanning. What that means for the user is they can capture geometry regardless of the object color, and often even capture black objects, without scan spray. THREE performs in all lighting conditions and it can even scan outdoors in the shade. THREE has an API, so it’s ready for machine vision projects and automation. And finally, THREE is a self-contained machine, with on-board software which it serves as a website. Everything is built-in: the scanning, processing, and scan storage. THREE connects to the user’s WIFI network; then the user connects to THREE’s website from any computer, operating system, Chromebook, tablet or iPad. There is no software to install and maintain, no expensive specialised computer required, no cloud, no SAAS, no internet connection required, and no subscription. THREE is self-contained and complete.

Physical setup takes a few minutes, and calibration takes 25 seconds. Focusing the cameras to the object is done in the software, like you’d do with a cellphone. Scanning is fast, and it has excellent alignment, cleaning, meshing and exporting tools. Finally, we have a list of additional post-release features planned for THREE, so it will continue to deliver new features and new value to people, without additional cost, for years into the future.

3D technology has developed continuously over the last few years. Which innovations or technological breakthroughs do you consider to be particularly important in the field of 3D scanning?

We think the biggest breakthrough has been the proliferation of inexpensive 3D scanners. Although they’re not necessarily going to give professional results, they’ve made it more affordable than ever before for new people to try out 3D scanning and we think as time passes the quality gap between the professional scanners and the hobbyist scanners will continue to narrow. Of course, we believe THREE represents a major step forward for the state of the art for both professional and hobbyist users, and we are very excited to start shipping this June, and have independent reviewers verify our claims! 

What impact do you think 3D scanning technology will have on different industries and possibly society as a whole in the coming years?

It’s fun to think of exciting, science-fiction futures, but practically speaking we think 3D scanning and 3D printing will remain very, very useful tools for specific workflows and professions, with continuing regular technological improvements. Over the years we’ve hypothesised about using 3D scanners to supplant product photography, for great-fitting custom made clothes, and to add yourself into your favourite video games. All of those things are happening now, but at nowhere near what we’d call “iPhone scale”, where it’s an impressive but commonplace technology. We think 3D scanning will remain an indispensable tool in the many professions that already use it, but we also see a lot of growth for 3D scanners in 3D printing and design classrooms. Scanning and CAD modification are essential parts of a complete 3D workflow, so if you have students just downloading files to print, they’re really missing out!

Here you can find out more about the Matter and Form THREE 3D scanner.

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