MakerBot Digitizer 3-D scanner (gnome sold separately)
Though the tech beat is all about the cutting edge, it's rare we actually get to talk about a totally new product. MakerBot's Digitizer — a $1,400 turntable that scans objects so you can print them on a 3-D printer — may seem logical to any fan of sci-fi, but as consumer products go, it's the first of its kind. And it's pretty neat.
Even without that sharp-dressed gnome — alas, like the MakerBot 3-D printer itself, the gnome is sold separately — this rotating scanner is hot. As you can see in the video, starring MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis, objects turn on the surface as laser beams (!) shoot out and map every nook and cranny.
So what do you do with your scanned object? If you are lucky enough to also own a 3-D printer like MakerBot's $2,200 Replicator 2 (or other models that cost as low as $1,200), you can print out whatever you scan in.
If you just like molding and shaping things to share with the universe, you can scan them in detail and then post the wireframe files on the Web, at MakerBot's Thingiverse or in the various other forums where 3-D artistry is shared and discussed.
You can order the scanner now through MakerBot — it ships in early October.
Wilson Rothman is the Technology & Science editor at NBC News Digital. Catch up with him on Twitter at @wjrothman, and join our conversation on Facebook.
First published August 22 2013, 9:59 AM