As 3D printers become more and more affordable, they're also becoming more mainstream. That mainstream appeal also means the people picking up 3D printers these days are laymen. To ease the transition from total novice to awesome 3D fabricator, 3D scanners are popping up all over the place.
Once a high-priced tool used exclusively by the professional manufacturing set, 3D scanners can help you easily create a model of everyday objects to then print on your 3D printer. 3D Systems' brand new Sense 3D scanner just might be the scanner the masses have been hoping for. It's handheld, can scan an area of up to 10 square feet and it's even kind of affordable.
The current standard for desktop 3D scanners is the Makerbot Digitizer. It retails for about $1,400 and has a scanning area of eight inches. The Sense 3D scanner can scan whole people and target specific objects without picking up random background items, all for about $400. Now, that's revolutionary.
One downside to the 3D scanner is that it needs to be tethered to a Windows device, meaning you'll have to lug around something at least as big as the Surface 2 along with you on your scanning adventures. That's a bit of an anchor, but it shouldn't make it impossible for you to go gallivanting around, scanning to your heart's content.