When Bre Pettis told me the Digitizer looks like a spaceship and will cost less than a Replicator, he wasn’t lying. It definitely looks like it could be firing phasers at a Romulan Bird of Prey. And it costs $1400.
It can create watertight, 3D printable models of objects up to 8” x 8”, which I suppose refers to diameter and height. Objects are placed on a turntable where a camera captures a depth field aided by two line lasers. A point cloud is generated with the included MakerWare and converted into a manifold STL. It can then be modified or 3D printed as is. These are useable models, but the FAQ makes it clear that the renderings are “medium-quality.” In more technical terms the resolution is “enough points to create about 200,000 triangles for each new 3D model. It can capture details as small as 0.5 mm, and surface depth as shallow as 0.5 mm. The dimensional accuracy of the MakerBot Digitizer’s is ± 2 mm, meaning that when you scan an object, the dimensions of your 3D model will be within 2 mm of your original object.”
So this isn’t the ideal scanner for engineers, but it’ll find plenty of use with artists, makers/DIYers, and designers. If it can replicate a chess piece, it’s worth the money. Though, there is now a 3D printer/mill/scanner being crowdfunded for $1099. But you won’t have that by October, which is when the Digitizer will begin shipping.