Raspberry Pi and OpenScan make a better 3D scanner than your phone

Chris Burns - Feb 24, 2021, 4:08pm CST
Raspberry Pi and OpenScan make a better 3D scanner than your phone

I have a question about 3D scanning devices: Why aren’t they easier to access? Today a project by Thomas Megel made the rest of the handheld smart device universe look silly by comparison. With OpenScan project software, Raspberry Pi, and the Pi camera v2.1, Megel created a budget-friendly 3D-scanning system that’s able to capture highly accurate 10-micron 3D scans with relative ease.

Megel is the founder of OpenScan, a system with which users can create 3D scanning hardware and process with software without breaking the bank. OpenScan started based on an Arduino-powered control unit and pre-built cameras. Here in 2021, the project works with an even simpler set of items: Raspberry Pi and a Raspberry Pi Camera Module.

Per Megel, the system Megel’s used can capture sub-50-micron accuracy with the basic Raspberry Pi Camera Module v2.1. The 10-micron accuracy comes with a slightly better Raspberry Pi HQ Camera Module. Megel explains the basic process in a Reddit thread and points users toward the OpenScan subReddit. The OpenScan Sketchfab page shows a variety of items that’ve been 3D scanned and processed with OpenScan software.

Experimental cloud software “OpenScanCloud” processing can be found in the OpenScan Github (for the cloud) and the entire OpenScan directory has “all you need to build your 3D scanner.” This was all done by a 3d-party, not-for-profit set of individuals – and it’s shockingly simple and effective.

With LiDAR and other 3D sensor systems on smartphones that cost over $1k in user hands right now, I can’t help but wonder why a 3D scanning camera system isn’t more readily available. This should be the most basic and easily-usable part of a smart device with a 3D sensor, right out the gate. Cross your fingers this project will push big brands in smartphones to include similar software in the near future by default.

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