Disney has just launched yet another volley in the endless war against 3D printing pirates. As reported by 3Ders, the entertainment monolith “has filed a patent for an ‘anti-scanning’ material that would prevent the unauthorized 3D scanning and printing of copyrighted Disney figurines.”
In recent years, it has become apparent that many makers have used the wonders of additive manufacturing in order to scan and print figurines they haven’t paid for. Enter Disney with its new ‘anti-scanning’ material.
“The material, described in a recently filed patent, would have certain reflective properties [capable of befuddling] scanning equipment by making solid edges hard to identify. It is not yet known exactly how this ‘retro-reflective’ material works, but the patent suggests that glass crystals embedded in a figurine’s face could be used to perform the function.” As the patent explains: “the scan-protected exterior surfaces are either light-absorbing or reflect light in unconventional directions.”
Of course, this new patented material cannot stop all forms of 3D printed piracy. For example, “Disney lovers would still be able to create 3D models using their own freehand CAD skills or by importing the 3D data from sources like video games.” But this latest patent by Disney “could be part of a wider project to stamp out unauthorized copies at all stages of their creation.”
Who knows where these 3D printed piracy wars will end up next…
Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3Ders, Lucasfilm, and The Walt Disney Company