Thursday, August 18, 2011

3D Scanning

An example of real object replication.
3D scanning is a form of analyzing real-world objects or environments to gather data on it's shape. The gathered data is used to create it's digital representation, like the example on the right. This one was 3D printed too (a process I described in my previous post), so now we have an almost exact duplicate, it's just missing some color.

You can see how this process could be used to duplicate your favorite toys, but if any of you are scientists, you could use this technology to create exact replicas of fragile artifacts to display in museums.

But how does it work?
There are many ways to 3D scan an object, some are more expensive, some are faster, but it all depends on your object's shape and size.

time-of-flight scanning
I won't go into details, but one of the main technologies behind it is Time-Of-Flight. The scanner points a laser rangefinder into an object and it measures how much time it takes for the light to hit the object. If you can imagine this process, then you can probably imagine doing it thousands of times for each point of the object. When you have a complete map of how far the points are, you can easily (if you're a computer) put them in a 3D space and there you have it, an object appears. Of course if you have a stationary camera, you have to rotate the object to scan it from all sides. Just for info: Typical time-of-flight 3D laser scanners can measure the distance of 10,000~100,000 points every second. An example of this can be seen on the right.

Monday, August 15, 2011

3D Printing

I always loved the idea of 3D printing. You would create a 3D complex object on your computer - something in the forms of an action figure or a monster, and then just print it out as you would print out a letter on a regular printer. You could easily create a custom army of figures for your children to play with.

3D printed bike
Fortunately, that's not all there is to it, because you can print out almost any shape you can imagine, for instance this 3D printed bicycle on the left. It was made by the EADS, the European aerospace and defence group out of nylon powder which is, according to EADS strong enough to replace steel or aluminium and requires no conventional maintenance or assembly.

Imagine you are riding a bike down the street and suddenly, it breaks. What do you do? Well, you walk to the nearest printer, plug in the USB and there you go, another bike (probably not that easy, but the future is coming).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Slow Motion Video

I was inspired by a Gizmodo's recent article on slow motion videos so I decided to post this.

Phantom v1610
I've always been attracted to high-speed cameras and amazed how they can shoot at 20.000 frames per second, but I've recently heard about the Phantom v1610 camera which can shoot at 1,000,000 frames per second (well okay, the resolution needs to be 128x16, but it's still impressive).

That got me researching a bit more and I found out that the fastest high-speed camera has the ability to take pictures at a speed of 200 million frames per second.

Just to be clear... when you record something at high speed, per say 1500 frames per second, the slow motion effect appears when you play those 1500 frames at a normal speed of 30 frames per second. But if you recorded at a whooping speed of 200 million fps and decided to play it at normal speed, it would take you 77 days to watch the whole recording (77 days to watch the 1 second long footage). Now THAT is slow motion.

Actually, the image above is a video, so if you come back every day for the next 77 days it might change slightly.

If you're interested in this topic, I recommend watching the following video:

Skipping Slow Motion from on Vimeo.

Also, I found this on Amazon: Casio EX-FH100 10.1MP High Speed Digital Camera with 10x Ultra Wide Angle Zoom with CMOS Shift Image Stabilization and 3.0 inch LCD. It can record at 1,000 fps, which is not bad at all, and it appears to be affordable at $300.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Tree of Wisdom

Also, back from holiday (and no, the beach in the previos post was not where I was staying.. can't afford that hehe)!