Mattel might be the first to market with a 3D printer aimed at kids, but Hasbro isn’t sitting by and letting its main competitor have all the 3D fun. The company just patented a kid-friendly 3D scanner that can digitize small objects using a smartphone’s camera and clever software.

Given how the company has already embraced 3D printing when it comes to some of the its most popular properties, it’s not surprising to see Hasbro move more into this market space. But it’s important to point out there isn’t a Hasbro-branded 3D printer—at least yet.

So what good is a 3D scanner without a 3D printer? The 3D models produced by this device—which uses a hand-crank to spin the object being scanned while a smartphone snaps photos of it from multiple angles—can still be used on a non-Hasbro-branded 3D printer, or even uploaded to 3D printing sites like Shapeways.

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Kids could also use the scanner to turn a favorite toy or stuffed animal into a 3D avatar for a video game, or bring it into virtual reality. The quality wouldn’t quite compare to what a laser 3D scanner would be capable of. But presumably Hasbro is also targeting a kid-friendly price tag if and when this eventually shows up on toy store shelves.

[US Patent & Trademark Office via 3Ders.org]

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