NextEngine 3D Scanner Captures Your World

The NextEngine 3D Scanner makes it possible for you to scan real objects and capture three-dimensional color surfaces for just $2,495.


(NextEngine 3D capture system)

The compact peripheral device shown above is about the size of a cereal box. It connects to your computer via USB 2.0. The PartGripper holds onto the object as it slowly spins on a turntable, the AutoPositioner making sure that the necessary scans are made. Note the bright lighting provided by the device.

The specifications for the NextEngine 3D Scanner are impressive. It offers 0.005 inch accuracy that compares well to devices that cost ten times as much. According to the NextEngine site the secret is "all-new electro-optical architecture and sophisticated new algorithms [that] use an array of lasers to scan in parallel." In a couple of minutes, the 3D CAD file is ready for use.


(NextEngine 3D CAD file ready)

Science fiction fans have been waiting a long time for something this easy to use. In his excellent 1954 novella The Houses of Iszm, Jack Vance wrote about feeler-planes that enabled the creation of incredibly detailed 3D images in just a minute or two:

He stood rigid as feeler-planes brushed down his body. In a glass dome a three-dimensional simulacrum of himself six inches high took form.
(Read more about Jack Vance's 3D feeler-planes)

Feeler-planes were used by the Iszic to create tri-type records that were so detailed (high resolution), fingerprints were captured in three-dimensional models of the subject's hands.

Via TreeHugger.

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