3d scanners are laser devices which are designed to record the textures and shape of an object. This information is then imported into 3d modelling computer software. Originally 3d modelling was used to create special effects in movies and for computer games, but it now has real world applications with the invention of 3d printers.
Over the next few years 3d printing will revolutionize the way we produce material items, food and even body parts. In coming years you will be able to download the blueprints for a 3 dimensional item such as a pair of shoes and print them at home rather than going to the store or waiting to have them shipped to you.
3d printing technology is going well beyond just plastic and soon we will all be able to create exact replicas of items including antiques made from wood and steel, food items such as chocolate and even perfect flawless diamonds. This will have a dramatic change the way we consume and also our worlds economies.