If You Can Image It, You Can 3D Scan It

By on December 30th, 2015 in Ideas

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The ability to create detailed 3D scans of practically anything is in everyone’s hands and most people don’t realize it. 

This might be best illustrated by a fascinating project by The Hydrous to create “open access oceans”: they’re 3D scanning coral reefs in order to raise attention to their currently precarious situation. The 3D scans can be used to educate and inform everyone of what the reefs really look like, and how they change over time. 

Here’s a video explaining their project. 

But what we find most fascinating is how they accomplish this. 

The Hydrous project uses optical imaging techniques to capture their 3D models. Essentially, they take many images of the subject coral reef, apparently divided into 10m square sections. These images are then processed by Autodesk Memento and automatically converted into useful 3D models. Models that can be 3D printed:

We discussed Autodesk Memento the other day and found it to be a very useful and straightforward tool that almost anyone can use. And it’s available at no charge, too. 

But wait – imaging equipment is also readily available. Probably 100% of the people reading this story have a camera handy. If it isn’t a standalone camera, it’s a smartphone camera. 

And if you can take images, you can make 3D models. 

Of anything. 

There’s no need for expensive hardware – or even software. You just need images and some time to put it all together. That’s something practically anyone can manage. 

So the means of creating 3D scans is within everyone’s grasp, but why don’t more people do so? We suspect it’s because most people are still unaware of the capabilities of 3D technology, as it has dramatically increased in recent years. 

Your job, as a 3D printing enthusiast, is to tell more people about our technology and what it can do for everyone. 

And start taking 3D images!

Via The Hydrous

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!