What does a transporter actually do on Star Trek? It scans in an object and then recreates it at a new location. How far from that are we from that technology today? At the level of quantum physics and perfect replicas structurally, from the same materials, and able to preserve the electrical impulses of human consciousness we are pretty far away and really only able to transport information. However, Bre Pettis of MakerBot industries fame was able to scan in a bust of Alexander the Great at the Brooklyn Museum, post the model on Thingiverse, then I was able to download that object and print it out on my Afinia 3D Printer. Maybe it is more like a fax than a transporter but the results are much more impressive than a spam fax for a trip to Cancun. So, what is it going to take to get the world to the 3D printer/scanner/fax combination that is so ubiquitous in home and professional offices? Enter the 3D scanner and a Indiegogo project called the Photon.
The Photon, from Matterform, is funding via Indiegogo and promises to be an amazing 3D scanner for your desktop and deserves a place right next to your 3D printer. Depending on how you configure your scan and what you are scanning, you can have a 3D model in as little as 3 minutes. Right now the resolution is about 0.43 mm at 0.5 degree scans with an accuracy of +/- 0.2 mm but they are working to improve even beyond those numbers. The scanner can scan an object up to 7.5 inches across by about 9 inches tall.
The Indiegogo project ends in 5 days now and if you want to get in on this I would jump on the opportunity. The project is already fully funded and well beyond with some big name backers. To get in for a single scanner is C$599 and well worth the investment in my opinion. Take a look at their Indiegogo site, watch the video, and be amazed.