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Want to post something on eBay? You might want one of these mobile photo studios

foldio blink scan projects foldio01

With the holidays just around the corner this is both a good time to buy the stuff you want and to sell the stuff you don’t (there’s always someone else out there who does want it, right?). And the key to creating a great eBay or other sales listing is the picture. Taking showroom-like photos of items for sale isn’t as easy as it seems, especially if you want that floating object look on a clean background. But there are two projects on Kickstarter right now that should make the process a lot easier: Foldio and BlinkScan

The one most of you will be interested in is Foldio, not just because it’s small and portable and foldable, but because it doesn’t cost $1,000 (we’ll get to that). Foldio is a portmanteau for foldable studio, and it lives up to it’s name. It’s similar to the StandScan smartphone scanner we wrote about this summer, but the Foldio’s focus is delivering the best pictures of small objects you can capture with a phone. 


Made from laminated paper, the Foldio easy snaps together thanks to embedded magnets to form an open-sided cube with about 10 x 10 x 10 inches of space inside. The design also includes a strip of LED lights. This makes it possible to get good shots in any lighting condition since the LEDs (seem to) evenly light the entire inside space. The basic Foldio will come with one foam-like white background sheet. You can also pay extra for the full set with other colors – useful if the thing you’re taking pictures of is white or light-colored. Once you’re done with it the Foldio folds up flat. Since it’s just paper with a thin LED strip, it doesn’t weigh much and is easy to carry around.

The project started this week and is already fully funded. There are still a few early bird Foldios left for a $27 pledge. Otherwise you can pledge at the $34 or $43 levels to get a basic or full Foldio set. Looking at the sample images, this looks like a pretty good deal. And it will make creating eBay listings from your phone a lot easier. No having to do a lot of editing or find the exact perfect sun-filled spot to take a picture.

Foldio sample picture

The Foldio Kickstarter goes until January 2 and is supposed to ship in February.

While Foldio is a good idea, you’re still limited to the resolution and quality if your smartphone’s camera. Those of you who collect and/or sell small but high-end objects may want to check out BlinkScan. We saw this scanner at Engadget Expand the other week and were impressed by how fast it is, how quickly it scanned, and that it took most of the work out of dealing with captured objects.


BlinkScan uses a capture process that involves snapping three images in red, blue, and green, combining them, and exporting as a TIFF file with the full color range. This all happens in about a second whether you’re scanning one object or a dozen. The software behind the scanner picks out individual objects and exports each one as it’s own image file. The best part is that there’s no background. No need to cut or use the Magic Wand or anything else. Plus, the images all have great detail.

During a demo the BlinkScan captured coins, cards, even a frame with a fancy woven pattern. Not only did it capture the picture inside of the frame accurately, but also cut out the background from inside the pattern. We were very impressed with the accuracy. The scanner was also able to capture objects that aren’t flat. We scanned a feather and some flowers and the resulting image didn’t have a ton of depth but did capture accurate details and colors.

Of course, all of this comes with a price. The current lowest backer level is at $650 and it looks like the retail price in the end is going to be $1,000. For people who need high-end scans of small objects on a regular basis, it looks like a good investment. The people behind BlinkScan are looking for $295,000 total and the Kickstarter ends on December 22

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