After ten yeras, the array of creations made with the LEGO’s Mindstorms kit is pretty impressive. One of the latest things to amaze me is this NXT 3D scanner created by Philo. The device uses several motors and linear actuators to probe the surface of an object and precisely record its shape. The scanner, which can take several hours to map the surface of an (even small) object, uses a sharp needle and and a the light sensor to probe the surface of the object to scan with quite an ingeneous mechanism. Philo details the project and outlines each component on his website. Philo writes,
I am a LDraw parts author, and as such I am always interested to find new ways to model LEGO parts. Many parts have a clear geometric structure and are relatively easy to create, but parts like the frog pictured above (note: it’s the small green blob) have no defined geometric shape and are very difficult to model. I toyed for a while with the idea of a 3D scanner… The solution came with 2008 LEGO Technic sets that include a new part, the linear actuator. These nifty device convert the rotation movement of a motor into a linear movement. Coupled with the high resolution of NXT encoder, I had all the elements to build a 3D scanner, precise enough for my purpose.
There’s a video of the scanner after the jump.
[Via The NXT Step]