If you're a product designer, a desktop 3D scanner would be worth its weight in gold. But that's the problem--the things are friggin' expensive.
Having an affordable way to scan something in 3D is inching closer to reality due to the efforts of one Qi Pan, a PhD candidate at the Engineering Department of Cambridge University. Pan has developed software, called PROforma, that enables a run-of-the-mill webcam to create a 3D model of what's in front of it--as he rotates it by hand. Don't believe it? Check it out: