The Apple Tree and The Apple Picker

By on January 23rd, 2010 in Design, Hardware

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We’re amazed at the results of an experimental 3D scan undertaken as part of Creaform’s Annual 3D Scanning Contest: The Apple Tree and The Apple Picker.

The scan attempted a rather difficult subject, that being a live human in the act of picking apples from a real tree. As you can see in the image above, the scan had to deal with very significant detail, hidden areas and even motion. The project split the work into two parts: the picker and the tree itself, which were to be linked together later.

Using Creaform’s handheld Handyscan 3D Laser Scanner, the tree’s trunk and primary branches were scanned onsite in an orchard initially, while smaller branches and leaves were scanned and added in later.

Of more complexity was scanning the picker, which evidently took place over several scan sessions. 3D Targets were affixed to the patient model, whose action position was scanned using the targets. Once the model’s position was captured, body segments were scanned separately in much more detail. Finally, the pieces were assembled in software to produce the human model seen above.

It wasn’t quite as simple as just that. There was the matter of creating a watertight 3D model from the data, and even worse:


The main challenge was the complexity of the object to scan. The shapes were very “organic” and hardly compatible with the conventional data treatment process.

Eventually the data was successfully integrated, enabling creation of both video and images. One of the major enablers of this project was the handheld scanner, which could easily move about in the shoot locations.

We’re fascinated with this project, because it hints at a future where 3D photographic models might be captured. No, this isn’t quite like that, as it was truly a significant effort to create this scene. But the scene itself roughly appears to be a live 3D photograph. We’re reminded of the primitive 2D photographs of the mid-19th century. What comes next?

Via Proto3000 (PDF)

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By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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