Apple to Move into 3D Scanning Market?

Reports have surfaced that Apple is about to purchase a company with deep ties to the 3D sensor market.

apple, 3d scanner, 3d printing, iphoneAccording to numerous reports, Apple will soon acquire Isreali chip maker PrimeSense, a company whose technology formed the basis of Microsoft’s Kinect Sensor.

In a recent release Calcalist, an Israeli financial paper, has said Apple will buy the 3D sensor firm for $345M. While the tech-news world has been quick to pounce on this report, PrimeSense has predictably moved to tamp down the scoop.

“We are focused on building a prosperous company while bringing 3D sensing and natural interaction to the mass market in a variety of markets such as interactive living room and mobile devices,” a spokeswoman for PrimeSense said. “We do not comment on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we do not relate to rumors or recycled rumors.”

Outside of this business gamesmanship, a report from AllThingsD has stated that a deal between the two companies is set to be wrapped up by the end of the week.

If Apple is indeed buying PrimeSense, it could signal the beginning of a new era for 3D scanning. Up to this point Apple hasn’t commented on how it would employ 3D scanning chips; however, with its ambition to make the iPhone a do-everything device, it’s only natural to assume that the company has considered its phone’s potential as a mobile 3D scanner.

Given the high cost of today’s 3D scanners, offering consumers a relatively cheap option for 3D scanning could see even more users flock to the company’s iPhone brand.

Additionally, with the potential for 3D scanners in everyone’s pocket, it’s possible that more people will begin looking into 3D printers as way to bring their scans to life; an idea that has the conflicting potential to be a boom for creativity and a catalyst for piracy.

Regardless of its outcome, the news that 3D scanners might be on the verge of ubiquity is still a huge boon for those interested in the possibilities of digital manufacturing and design.

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