3-D printing has become an enormous area of interest for investors and consumers alike recently, with companies such as Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) and 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) leading the charge in this space. The excitement is only growing as the technology – long popular in the industrial sector – has become more and more affordable for individual consumers.
The recent 2014 International CES in Las Vegas may have been the tipping point for consumer interest. 3D Systems still derives about 90% of its revenue from the professional market, but made some big announcements in Vegas on the consumer and "prosumer" side – including an update and price cut on its third-generation Cube model.
Stratasys, meanwhile, is in fine shape on the consumer and prosumer side with its recently acquired MakerBot division. Like 3D Systems, MakerBot made several big announcements at CES. Our roving reporter Rex Moore was there, and conducted an extensive (and entertaining) interview with CEO Bre Pettis.
In this segment, Pettis discusses the next generation of 3-D scanning. He talks about upgrades to the MakerBot Digitizer that have made it more powerful and functional, and he also mentions a new partnership for MakerBot with SoftKinetic, a company that makes 3-D object sensors used in the gaming industry for face and gesture recognition. Pettis notes that with the other two companies currently developing these kinds of sensors being owned by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), he sees this partnership as a huge deal for MakerBot to be on the cutting edge of developing and incorporating this kind of technology.