'Beastcam' creates 3D models of living animals

'Beastcam' creates 3D models of living animals

 Scientists have developed a multi-armed platform that integrates several cameras plus a computer system dubbed as 'Beastcam' that can rapidly and easily create 3D models of living animals and other objects.

Researchers at University of Massachusetts in US created the tool which is portable and easily packed into a carrying case.

"Once you make a 3D model of an object, you can modify it, conduct experiments with it, animate it or even send it to a 3D printer for testing different designs," said Duncan J Irschick, the biologist who developed the tool.

"Current scanning systems, such as laser scanners or CT scanners, are typically slow, and often require bulky and expensive machinery. So we created the Beastcam using off-the-shelf materials to provide a portable, fast, easy-to-use, high quality and low-cost system," he added.

A key advantage of the Beastcam technology lies in its ability to scale up to a range of sizes, which opens up new opportunities for creating 3D models from a range of subjects, researchers said.

Beastcam's cameras are mounted on flexible, adjustable arms placed in a favourable arrangement for rapidly scanning objects.

The lightweight system, under 10 pounds, includes a small computer tablet, a battery and several other features that allow users to take the Beastcam outside the home, studio or laboratory.

Images captured can be easily uploaded to various widely available software programmes, such as Autodesk 123D Catch that quickly creates a 3D model.

"One of the advantages to our system is that cameras and mounting arms can be easily added and subtracted to customise it for many different uses and at different scales," said Kasey Smart from University of Massachusetts.

"We have been able to create accurate 3D models of a range of objects, including human-sized objects in less than 30 seconds, and car-sized objects in about 45 seconds," co-inventor Dylan Briggs said.

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