Monday, December 2nd, 2013 Posted by Jim Thacker

Robocular unveils two new sub-$800 desktop 3D scanners

There are now so many low-cost 3D laser scanners coming onto the market that pointing out how many of them they are is starting to become a standard disclaimer in every story we post.

The latest entrant to the fray is US startup Robocular, which is currently pitching its Robocular Mini and Robocular Standard scanners on Kickstarter.

The standard details
First off, the obvious stuff: both models do the things you’d expect (namely, come with software to clean up raw scan data, export geometry in standard formats such as OBJ, PLY, STL, XYZ files, and capture textures).

Pricing is pretty standard for this new crop of desktop scanners – although, at $599 for the Mini and $799 for the Standard, the Robocular models do come in at the lower end of scale.

Scan volume is also pretty standard: relative to its competitors, the Mini’s 7″ diameter x 7″ height (178mm x 178mm) capture space puts it at the low end of the scale; the Standard’s 9″ x 9″ (229mm x 229mm) at the upper.

The unusual details
Things get more interesting when it comes to scan quality. Both models use a green laser, meaning that a standard camera CMOS sensor can capture twice as many data points as in rival models that use a red laser.

As a result, the quoted scan accuracy is very good: at +/-0.15mm for both models, it’s better than any sub-$1,000 scanner we’re aware of, and almost on a par with the more expensive NextEngine 3D Scanner HD.

Robocular is putting its data where its mouth is, too, posting raw scan data on Sketchfab for users to inspect.

The right balance of quality and price?
How attractive users find Robocular’s central proposition – genuine professional scan quality at hobbyist prices – remains to be seen: for many pros, capture volume may still prove to be the limiting factor; while hobbyists may simply not notice the extra accuracy.

However, the company has put together a nicely structured Kickstarter campaign, with all the relevant technical stats listed clearly. (It even includes a comparison table, though only to a ‘typical’ competitor.)

And while the funding frenzy of earlier this year seems to be subsiding, Robocular is off to a reasonable start, with $34,000 of its $180,000 goal pledged in the first three days.

The cheapest early bird deal on the Standard model has already gone, but you can still get $70 off the proposed release price if you back the campaign now, or $100 off the Mini version.

Read more about Robocular’s 3D laser scanners on the company’s Kickstarter page

Read Robocular’s official press release