3D object scanning using an ordinary webcam

Just in case you thought Tom Maly’s speculations about fabrication tech eradicating Fed Ex were a stretch too far, and that the technologies required are no where near ready… well, you might have a point. But even so, 3D technologies are developing rapidly and cheaply, as demonstrated by some people from Cambridge University who’ve written software that allows a common or garden webcam to scan three dimensional objects in realtime as you turn them in your hand:

ProFORMA uses a fixed video camera to allow on-line reconstruction of objects held in a user’s hand. Partial models are generated very quickly and displayed instantly, allowing the user to plan how to manipulate the object’s pose in order to generate additional views for reconstruction. We demonstrate how augmented reality can be used to assist the user in view planning, guiding the user to collect new keyframes from desirable views in order to complete and refine the model.

Yeah, sure, it looks a little janky and lo-fi. The point is, ten years ago it would have been pure speculation; so where might we be in another decade?

One thought on “3D object scanning using an ordinary webcam”

  1. On-demand manufacturing in mini-factories in every neighborhood will require tougher enforcement of patents, copyrights, etc., at the very least. In all likelihood new types of patent laws will need to be created. The lawyers will benefit greatly from this tech.

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