I know you’ve nearly filled up your hard-drive with all those selfie shots you post to Instagram and Facebook. Just imagine, however, if that mobile device was a handheld 3D scanner, capable of capturing your porous cheek flaps and gorgeous skin tones. It’s happening with the push of a button and a triple-flash of 3D geometry grabbing delight. Fuel3D is taking years of research, a mix of 3D acquiring technology and combining it in the first ever, full-color handheld 3D scanner. Of course, they have a Kickstarter campaign with a response that has crushed their $75,000 goal and there’s plenty of time to join the action.
Scan in Your Hand
The Fuel3D Scanner is a point-and-shoot scanner that uses a target to help acquire the data for the shot. The Fuel3D tech differs from 3D digital cameras that use stereoscopic imaging, instead fusing geometric and photometric stereo 3D recovery techniques to create a full 3D surface you can export with full-color information. The Fuel3D scanner resolution will depend on distance from the object with best achievable results at 250 microns (.25mm). On toop of that, there is support for three different 3D file formats as the device software will export .obj, .ply and .stl.
At this point, multiple shots can be taken and stitched together, as Danny Sullivan of Fuel3D tells us, using Meshlab or other software. “We have demonstrated on our website that you can use our prototype to acquire a full 360 degree scan by stitching multiple viewpoints. To do this we used our prototype system to acquire 12 shots and used free third-party software to fuse them. Uformia’s MeshUp would be another route for this.” MeshUp is available in several tiers of their Kickstarter campaign as a promo bundle. Their hope is to be able to incorporate similar technology into Fuel3D in the future.
While the manual stitching of multiple meshes is a disadvantage, there’s little doubt they’ll be able to approximate and combine multiple shots in a future version or perhaps even the first generation Fuel3D Scanner. You’re limited to area of a scan and the fall-off of the flash, but for many applications a high-resolution scan just doesn’t get any easier of cheaper. The early bird special ($750!) is all gone, but the next tier is open with the cost of the 3D scanner at $990. The campaign ends September 1st, 2013, so back now or visit their site if you’ve missed it.