Sarah Buhr posted a very cool article on TechCrunch on how the Kinect is being used by MIT to 3D scan a T. rex skull (how cool is that!)
MIT’s Camera Culture group has been able to successfully capture a high-resolution 3D scan of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull using about $150 worth of equipment and some free software.
(Image Credit: MIT researchers)
Last year, a group of forensic dentists tried to find out more about the holes by 3D-scanning an image of the skull using some high-tech equipment. However, the skull was too large for their equipment to handle.
MIT’s researchers decided to give it a try recently using the much cheaper Microsoft Kinect, an in-depth-sensing camera and free MeshLab software. Though MIT’s Media Lab does have a prototype system for producing high-resolution 3D scans, that system wasn’t ready yet for such a large scan, so the researchers improvised with the cheaper devices.
That was a pretty smart move, as most high-resolution scanning systems out on the market can cost tens of thousands of dollars for a resolution of about 50 to 100 micrometers. But, the Kinect works just fine for this type of job, with a resolution of 500 micrometers for about $100, enabling researchers to now take a good look at the skull without damaging the original.
Already, the group has been able to observe the mysterious holes taper from the outside in, undermining the hypothesis of a mouth infection. And now that the 3D image can be shared in the cloud, more research can be done to determine what may have happened.