[FoRK] It's Time to Start 3D Scanning the World

Ken Meltsner meltsner at alum.mit.edu
Wed Jan 11 10:00:56 PST 2012

On Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 9:22 AM, Stephen Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:

> No special hardware is needed to get very good 3D scans, once we get a
> little more CPU and improve the algorithms just slightly.  Stereo vision,
> using just a single camera moved around a bit, is plenty to get pretty good
> data.

You can even do it with a single camera in one shot and without special
light sources.  Mike Bove at the MIT Media Lab did his dissertation on
extracting 3-D information using depth of field -- basically, you have a
special lens that splits the viewed scene into two pictures with different
depths of field.  After lots of computation, you can determine how far away
any part of the scene is.

Twenty-five years ago, this was a serious computational task, but it might
be feasible today with much, much less hardware.  The technique did work
best when the object in question had a visible pattern or texture so that
the program could determine how well focused each image section was.

Ken Meltsner

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