Wednesday, November 16, 2016

3D Scanning with a Phone or Tablet

A 3D scanner is a piece of equipment that uses visual data of a physical object or location to gather information on its shape and appearance. This visual data can then be converted and utilized to digitally build three-dimensional models. In recent years, 3D printing has become more commonplace, which has only increased the need for practical and easy-to-use scanning capabilities.

Although there are a number of low cost handheld and turntable options already available to purchase (with prices ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars), anyone who wants to try out 3D scanning can now do so by downloading a free app called 123D Catch (available for iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices) from AutoDesk, which uses the camera on your own smart phone or tablet to construct a 3D object from photos you shoot. After installing the app, an informative visual guide shows you how to set up your environment to take the photos under acceptable conditions. Keep in mind that it can be difficult to get capture all the needed angles that the app will allow and processing the images can take awhile, so it may take some time and patience to accurately scan an object. With a number of well-lit and correctly positioned photos, you should be able to produce a fairly accurate 3D model using only your mobile device.

Image from Pixabay.