3D hand scanner could give you custom braces

The student-made gear could fill big gaps in health care and design.

Many 3D scanners are built to scan whole objects, but that doesn't necessarily cut it if you're trying to scan a specific part. Ever try to map your own hand? Yeah, that doesn't work very well. However, recent graduate Pieter Smakman has a better way. His custom-built Curatio scanner creates a detailed 3D model of your hand simply by putting your hand inside a ring -- you don't have to wave a device around. It uses relatively off-the-shelf parts for the capture process, too, including Raspberry Pi mini-PCs, 32 (!) cameras and laser pointers.

Curatio is a one-off at the moment, and there's no guarantees that it'll become a device you can buy. If it does take off, though, it could be incredibly useful for multiple fields. In health care, it could lead to braces that fit the exact contours of your hand. It'd also be an ace in the hole for designers who want to make customized gear (such as gloves or steering wheels) or simulate real hands in virtual worlds. You might not get a device like this at home, but you could easily notice its impact.