We first spied the Makerbot Digitizer, a standalone 3-D scanner, back at South by Southwest–it’s a rotating platform with a depth sensor, so anything you plop onto the platform can be scanned and then reproduced, like a sci-fi replicator. And now it’s officially available for pre-order, for $1,400.
The Digitizer, and 3-D scanning in general, is a key development in the adoption of 3-D printing. If you have a 3-D printer, the eternal question of “what do I do with it?” can only be answered by downloading models from resources like Thingiverse. But if you want something that’s not there–and there are lots of things that aren’t there–you’re pretty much out of luck. 3-D scanners change that; you can make printable files out of any appropriately sized object you can find. It’s pretty amazing stuff! Makerbot’s site appears to be getting hammered at the moment, but once it’s back up, you can pre-order the Digitizer here.