The next 3D evolution

Toronto-based Matterform is getting ready to launch an (affordable) 3D scanner. We ask Matt Di Paola of Critical Mass how this will impact the ad industry.

Though 3D printing is at least a few years out from reaching mass popularity, Toronto-based Matterform (which was started by two former ad guys, Drew Cox and Adam Brandejs, who met at Lowe Roche) is taking things one step closer to the tipping point with the introduction of the Matterform 3D Scanner.

The scanner allows users to take an object and turn it into a digital 3D model on their computer, where it can be printed on any 3D printer or online printing service, or used in an animation for a videogame, for instance.

Cox and Brandejs began work on the project last September, quitting their day jobs and going full-time in February of this year. They raised 582% more than their goal during an Indiegogo push in the spring and are in production for the first run of product before the end of the year (at a cost of $599 each).

“We know 3D printing is a big buzz term right now, but we weren’t sure how people would react to 3D scanners,” Brandejs says. “We went in very cautiously, knowing to break even we needed to raise $81,000. We thought it would be a slow climb, but then in the four days on Indiegogo we raised $471,082, which was a big surprise.”

Matt Di Paola, SVP and general manager at Critical Mass in Toronto, says his agency is experimenting with 3D printers and anticipates 3D scanners like Matterform’s to bring about some big questions for brands in the future.

“People will be able to have something like a coffee mug, scan that and duplicate it,” he says. “So product manufacturers will have to think about the value of the product they are making and how to stop people from making their own version. That is going to be a question for the next five to 10 years – what are people selling? Are they selling intellectual property or the actual manufactured product? The focus on ingenuity and design is going to be key, but the need to actually produce the product is going to be lower.”