3D scanning seems magical enough without bringing things like Lego Mindstorms
contraptions into the mix. Now a cat named Andy Barry (a research engineer at NASA Ames Research Laboratory's Autodesk Innovations Lab) has gone and built one out of a webcam, a laser, and a whole lot of moxie. The premise is pretty straight-forward: a red laser sweeps across an object while the webcam keeps an eye on the beam's deflection (the more the beam shifts, the closer the object is to the camera). The computer uses this data to calculate the thickness of the object. Sounds like the perfect compliment to your Cupcake 3D printer
, eh? With any luck, you should see it at the MakerBot store at around the $200 mark sometime this fall.