Occasionally, in this line of work, I need to have a slight freak-out moment where I rave about the fact that things like this OrcaM “reconstruction sphere” actually exist. Not only does this thing look like a prop out of a sci-fi movie (or Transmetropolitan), but it acts like one as well.
Inside that enormous ball are seven high-definition cameras that rotate around the object you put inside, looking at it from every angle and with many kinds of special lighting applied to help determine texture, reflectance, and other factors.
What you get is, within a few minutes, a 3D model accurate to under than a millimeter, in full color and with color and texture included. Perfect for, say, submitting to Shapeways or the like and getting yourself a copy. I can think of many uses for this thing.
It’s not the only 3D scanner in the world of course, just the most sci-fi-looking we’ve seen in a while. And big dedicated rigs like this probably won’t be the future of 3D scanning anyway; the Kinect seems to be filling that role just fine. Either way, it’s cool as hell to watch.