Here's a cool addition to the "iOS-devices-can-do-just-about-anything" list: using a US$0.99 app to turn your iPhone 4, iPad 2 or latest-generation iPod touch into a 3D scanner, replacing hundreds of dollars worth of last year's technology.
Trimensional was developed by Grant Schindler, a research scientist in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech's College of Computing. It uses the device's screen to light the object being scanned from four different directions, allowing a 3D model to be produced. Originally, users could only email their scans or send 3D animations, but now Schindler has added an in-app upgrade for a few dollars that allows you to export the data to CAD programs or 3D applications.
"You can just have fun with it, or if you work with 3D models, you can use it professionally," Schindler said. You won't get the same precision results you'd expect from a professional 3D scanner, but then again, it is less than a dollar. Check out some of the images of creations that users have already produced. Cool.