Camera system makes 3D computer models of anything placed inside of it


January 19, 2012

The OrcaM Orbital Camera System can create a 3D digital model of any object placed within its "reconstruction sphere"

The OrcaM Orbital Camera System can create a 3D digital model of any object placed within its "reconstruction sphere"

Image Gallery (3 images)

Obtaining a high-quality 3D digital model of a physical object can be a fiddly process, that often requires considerable user input. German research and development company NEK, however, is attempting to make things easier, with its OrcaM Orbital Camera System. Users just place an object inside of its "reconstruction sphere," then the system goes to work, automatically creating a near-perfect three-dimensional recreation of the object.

Presently, OrcaM is limited to objects with a diameter no larger than 80 centimeters (31.5 in), and weighing no more than 100 kilograms (220.5 lbs).

The process begins with the user sliding back the camera head, opening up the sphere, and placing their object inside. Once the sphere has been closed and the head slid back into place, the acquisition stage can begin. This involves the head slowly moving around the sphere, systematically snapping high-definition images of the object from every angle, via its seven cameras. A matrix of lights on the inside surface of the sphere illuminate the object differently for every shot, to best capture all of the intricate details of its geometry. Users don't need to calibrate the cameras or lighting system, as the system performs that function automatically.

Once the scanning is completed, a linked computer creates a 3D model of the object, using the captured images.

According to NEK (webpage is in German), features that are still in development for the system include the abilities to scan through plate glass and to recreate semi-transparent objects, along with simplified one-button use, and portability.

OrcaM can be seen in use, in the video below.

Source: Dvice

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

The Germans are back people... expect to see a lot more technology coming out of that country going forward!

Dana Lawton

Article covers the aqisition part OK, but that\'s just half the story. I wish something had been said about which 3D printing method was used, and of what material. Also how was it painted, 3 or 4 robot arms each with a different color pen? How well did it do the inside of the vase using only visible light ? This is beginning to smell like \"concept\", and readers are left to jump to the conclusion that it can do, what it can\'t do. A Star Trek Replictor it ain\'t. Dana is correct though. A lot of Gizmag articles on stuff coming out of that Fraunhoffer (spelling?) place astonish me, like this does not.

Dave B13

@Dave Ho said anything about printing?

All I saw (and read) was about a 3D Scanning device...

This is very useful in my point of view. From archeology to Die creation..

Fábio Dias

@fabio from artifact to die creating, this IS only half the story, youre still short the 3D printer

BUT the fact that they are trying to achieve multilayers and transparent/semitransparents, is amazing. 3D scanners have only had the option of its here, or its not, but to give you the tranparent layer, and whats behind that layer will be the true sign of success

Ricky Livingston

A camera that creates 3D models has been in the works for 25 years. Each one is better, is ballyhooed, then disappears. Now we have one that is perfect, and is the size of a beach umbrella. Swell. How about one that is 90% perfect and fits on a desktop?


@ Name that uses 23 characters & 3 spaces. You are correct, only the scanning device was written about. If you look at the 3 pictures, the first is titled original, the last 3D reconstruction. Silly me for wanting to know how the 3D reconstruction was fabricated,(also out of what), and then it\'s surface finished in the same intricate pattern of several colors. I also wonder why when I write \"I wish something had been said about which 3D printing method was used, and of what material.\" You whine \"@Dave Ho said anything about printing?\" No one did, and that was my whine.

Dave B13
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