US Inventors create chip to convert phones into 3D scanners

Phones can now be enabled for 3D capture of everyday things. Researchers in the US have created an IC (Integrated Circuit) that can be embedded in phones so that phones cameras can be used as 3D cameras. That will amount to take images of a particular object from different angles and combining them to for a single object.

3D printing camera

The 3D imaging feature is a most sought after thing in the 3D printing world. Until now, 3D printers depended upon using Auto Cad or similar software to create different angles of objects. The outcome was then fed to 3D printers so that they can print 3D objects. For 3D printers, the ability to take 3D images via phone comes handy. They now can just trace the 3D object’s image using some tracing software and then feed it into 3D printers so that the object could be printed.

The researchers of California Institute of Technology say that their device is based on a silicon chip that is low cost and is around 1 millimeter square. It is too small and can be embedded easily into all sorts of phones and even hidden cameras. This chip enables cameras to scan the objects at a good resolution and send it to computers or cloud – depending upon the settings. From there, 3D printers can take over.

The device works using light rays that are parallel aligned on the image which is to be captured. The light reflected back is used to create a scanned copy of the image dimensions for each side. A grid of 4x 4 detectors is used to capture the light being reflected back and that helps in capturing the dimensions. These dimensions are then put together to create an overall image architecture for feeding to the 3D printers.

The researchers say that the device could be put to a number of practical uses, especially 3D printing. Using the chip will bring down costs associated with 3D printing as services of Auto Cad and similar software professionals will no longer be required. The 4 x 4 grid can be increased to more detectors so that the resolution is bettered or to create a bigger chip for other purposes. The main aim of the chip, however, is related to 3D printing and is sure to create a revolution in the way things are going on at the time.

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Arun Kumar is obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. He also offers online training for Business English. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN

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