Still a bit curious how the ProFORMA system developed at Cambridge University can turn any old webcam into a fairly advanced 3D scanner? Then settle in for a few minutes, as the researcher behind the project, Qi Pan, has taken a bit of time to chat with the Shapeways blog about the how the system came to fruition and its potential availability to the public. Interestingly, he actually started out trying to model outdoor scenes, but moved to smaller objects after discovering that the processing power required was beyond his reach. That led to about a year and half of work on the current system, which works in two stages: the first being a tracker that works out the position and orientation of the object relative to the camera, and the second being the reconstruction stage, which seems to be as effortless to use as it is complicated to explain. Perhaps the best news, however, is that Qi says he soon plans to release a Linux-based demo to the general public, and a Windows version shortly thereafter.

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Creator of ProFORMA 3D scanning system talks details, availability