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Beastcam gets quick 3D scans of live critters

by • January 12, 2016 • No Comments

When studying wild animals such as sharks, it can be complex to get ahold of one each time you want to check a thing out. Having a 3D model of the creature may certainly help, although getting a shark to sit yet for several minutes while being scanned may be quite the challenge. That’s why a University of Massachusetts Amherst team led by biologist Duncan J. Irschick created the transportable, quick-scanning Beastcam.

The sub-10-lb (4.5-kg) Beastcam consists of multiple cameras mounted on flexible arms, connected to a battery pack and a tablet desktop. The number of cameras varies, depending on the desired resolution and the dimensions of the subject.

Users just pass the Beastcam over the animal in question, capturing multiple photos of it of a variety of angles. As with other 3D scanners, software is and so utilized to combine those images into a single cohesive digital 3D model. Scientists can subsequently study/manipulate which model on their desktop, or they can feed it into a 3D printer to create a physical model.

According to Irschick, the Beastcam offers higher resolution than other transportable camera-based 3D scanners, while it’s considerably quicker, smaller in size and less expensive than most laser scanners. It can scan human-dimensionsd objects in under 30 seconds, and car-dimensionsd objects in of 45. Additionally, it’s claimed to be simple to scale the system up and down.

Irschick is presently using the Beastcam prototype to image geckos in his lab (he’s one of the inventors of the bio-inspired Geckskin adhesive), and hopes to use it on sharks in Florida this spring. He was originally inspired to create the device after having complexy conducting 3D scans of sharks last year.

Source: University of Massachusetts Amherst

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