Microsoft may have hit on a mixed jackpot with the Kinect. While Xbox gamers might consider it a very optional, sometimes even unwanted, accessory, makers and tinkerers have flocked to it for how it made 3D scanning technology available the masses at an affordable price. However, it requires to be connected either to an Xbox or to a PC in order to function, which puts hard limits on its portability. But throw in a Raspberry Pi 2 into the mix, one of the most portable computers around, and you’re good to go. Literally.
That is the very mission that Mario Lukas set out to do, to build a handheld 3D scanner made from affordable off shelf components, like, say, a Microsoft Kinect and the latest Raspberry Pi 2. It’s still a proof of concept and doesn’t look nearly finished, but it works!
Assembling the contraption isn’t for the faint of heart and will, of course, require a few pieces aside from the Kinect and the RPi 2. You’ll need a 3D printer, or a friend who has one, to print out a custom handle that will hold everything together. You will also need a touchscreen display for the Raspberry Pi. Fortunately, this one can be bought.
Given a Kinect is involved, one might presume this will utilize the Windows 10 version that was just freshly launched for the Raspberry Pi 2 last month. Couldn’t be farther from reality. Instead, the RPi 2 runs on the default Linux-based Raspian OS. It uses the open source libfreenect library that happily supports most of the Kinect’s core functionality. Fortunately, Lukas’ also provides instructions on how to replicate his experiments, or maybe even improve on it.