Simple, low-cost handheld scanner, mostly meant to be used for faster scans that don't need a high level of detail. The handheld nature of the scanner allows for easy scanning of both small and large targets, including people.
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If you want to start doing 3D scans without spending thousands of dollars, this might be an option for you, since this budget 3D scanner is quite affordable, costing even less than some accessories for professional 3D scanners.
Pro Light computer hardware requirements
Even though a computer is required to use this scanner, its hardware does not need to be high-end. An Intel Core i5 or equivalent will handle the processing, and 2GB of RAM are enough to keep things running smoothly.
Pro Comes with free software
Besides its affordable price, the Sense comes with completely free software. There are also no “advanced” or “professional“ paid version upgrades, so you can use the program's full set of features for free.
Pro Good for casual use
Overall scan quality is in the lower mid-range, but this device easily serves the needs of the casual user who is simply tinkering or using scans for simple objects.
Pro Exports to multiple formats
The Sense can export scans to several major formats (WRL, STL, PLY, OBJ), which makes saving and using scans in multiple frameworks much less of a hassle.
Pro Can scan relatively large objects
The maximum target object size is 2 meters, in all directions, which is a high limit. However, the scanner must stay between 0.2 m and 1.6m from the target.
Pro Good scanning range
The Sense can scan objects that are as close as 0.2 m, up to those that are 1.6 m away, which is further away than some industrial-grade scanners. With a fairly wide field of view, even capturing an object as large as a person only takes a few minutes and won't require stitching multiple scans together. It should be noted, however, that scanning small objects will not wield good results with this scanner, due to its resolution specs.
Pro Captures color
This scanner is capable of capturing color features of target objects, which has several advantages, such as making visual review of scanned objects much simpler or facilitating use of those scans with 3D printers that allow for color printing.
The Sense's relatively small size makes it fairly easy to pack away safely and avoid any unfortunate mishaps in transit. It's easy to use in any place you can get a laptop set up. Barely over 7 inches at its longest dimension, it even fits snugly into most laptop bags.
Con Difficult to create a proper scanning environment
Getting a solid, high-quality scan out of the device can require very specific criteria, such as dangling the target object from the ceiling, to fully separate it from background elements, or building a custom stabilizer. Otherwise, scans can suffer from stitching issues, undesired objects being scanned, or overall poor scan quality.
Con Very poor scanning resolution
This scanner's resolution is, at best, 1 mm. This can result in inaccurate and sparsely detailed scans, so make sure you can work with this kind of resolution on your 3D applications before purchasing this 3D scanner.
Con Cannot run unless connected to a computer
The Sense has no internal memory, and cannot be run without being connected to a computer, which makes on-the-fly scanning more difficult.
Con Can be difficult to aim
There's no simple way to ensure that the Sense is still on target while scanning, unless you can keep an eye on the computer screen. If that's too inconvenient, a possible solution is having two people manage the scan, but that creates a whole new set of issues. All this is aggravated by the USB cord his short (6 feet only).
Con Has trouble in several lighting scenarios
The Sense uses an IR-based Structured Light system for scans, which is vulnerable to some issues: low light easily confuses the scanner, as well as uneven lighting. Bright lights in the background can often disrupt the scans entirely, and scanning in direct sunlight also renders the scanner almost unusable. The scanner works best in "studio" lighting: lots of indirect, diffused lighting will ensure high scan quality.
Con Has trouble with transparent and shiny objects
While reflective surfaces are a problem for many 3D scanners, this is particularly problematic for the Sense, as the its IR sensor can have difficulty resolving objects under unusual lighting, according to this review.
Con Cannot be adapted for turntables
Keeping the scanner in a single position and rotating an object in front of it doesn't work with this scanner, since it relies on seeing changes on the environment surrounding the target to perform the scan.