3D Macro Scanning

29th September 2014

We have been visiting a lot of museums lately, where they have small objects, which you have to squint your eyes to study. That’s when an idea struck us. What if you could inspect, rotate and study those objects on a large interactive screen?

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3D scanning has always fascinated us, and we’re familiar with the photogrammetry technique. However, those techniques would not yield enough detail for the purpose of studying smaller objects. This leaves us with two viable methods: Laser scanning and the structured lighting technique.

Considering we don’t own a laser, we made do with borrowing a projector from our neighbour (Thank you :D) and used the structured lighting technique. This was the only option, but probably the best option with amateur equipment for testing.

(Left: 3D model, Right: photo)

Structured Lighting 3D Macro Scanning

Our setup is based upon VirtuMake’s VirtuZoom.
Equipment we used:
  • David 3D Laser Scanner (software)
  • InFocus home cinema projector from 2004 (1024×768 resolution)
  • Canon 7D with a 125 mm zoom lens (not macro)
  • Lego Technic (instead of an Arduino)
  • A good, old magnifying glass.
  • Cardboard boxes and tape
A normal projector can not focus closer then 2-3 meters away, which would not yield the detail required. I experimented with lenses and optics in the projector beam to see if it was possible to get a close up focus. After a few test runs, it turns out the simple solutions are always the best: A regular magnifying glass, taped to the front of the projector.

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For the camera, we taped it to the top of the projector, scanning objects about 5cm tall. We used a 125 mm zoom lens, which has a very shallow depth of field (Not ideal for this purpose) when focused close up (about 20 cm distance).

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We used Lego Technic to make a slow turning turn table with a remote control, as every little movement to the setup required re-calibration. Our setup was not automated like the Arduino version (VirtuZoom), so every scan was done manually (20-25 scans for each object).

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Results

The equipment we used was not ideal for the setup, but it worked. The David 3D Laser Scanner software was very versatile, flexible and efficient to use! When merging the results, we noticed that certain areas of the model would not merge, which seemed to be cause by some distortion. It was likely due to the magnifying glass attached to the projector.
Other then that, we think that the results are quite impressive, and can be used in a setup which allows you to truly study a tiny object in great detail.

If we wanted to improve this set up, we would use a HD projector, with a proper lenses attached to it (See here: forum post and forum post ). Using a proper macro lens, with reduced depth of field, would also produce better results.

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Work: Sommerles

4th June 2014

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Sommerles is launched and it’s been so much fun taking part in this project! :D It’s main goal is to promote children in Vestfold, Norway, to read as much as possible in the Summer holidays, and win prizes and take part in weekly challenges. Three months ago, we started making Sommerles a reality and we’ve worked with such pleasant librarians and people (Clare’s Norwegian has also improved). As we are lovers of reading, this project was exactly our cup of tea :D

By making the reading campaign more of a game, we introduced achievements, avatars and levelling up to the site, and leaderboards to compete. The basic ideas was presented by the client themselves, and we built on this to make their dream a reality.

We focused on making a design for children along the theme of viking/norse mythology, an awesome project right? :) After designing the mood board for the project, we planned the design and system behind the site. A lot of management of thousand of books in the system meant Christer was working hard, to make it handle all the data, and make it easy for all the librarians to use the admin area too.

As all children have their own profile, we wanted to add digital achievements to make it more rewarding, and what better avatars than to use norse mythology. We picked icons such as Draupnir (Odin’s ring), Nidhogg (Who gnaws at the roots of Yggdrasil), Mjölnir and the list goes on.

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It’s been three months dedicated work, but every minute has been fun :D We couldn’t have asked for a better project, and a happier client.

↳ See the website here: http://sommerles.no


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Sommerles

15th May 2014

sommerles

We’ve been a bit quiet the last few months, so we wanted to share a little insight into what has been happening here at Snuti HQ. Since February of this year, we’ve been working hard on making Norway’s first online library game for the summer holidays, by making a responsive website with a viking/norse mythology inspired theme.

It’s almost the end of our 3 month’s development and we were able to show off the website to the librarians in the whole of Vestfold county today. We were very proud to show off sommerles.no as we’ve put a lot of time into creating a design and system that will be inspiration for children and engaging.

Sommerles (Summer reading) is all about inspiring children to read, by making a game out of reading and participating in the library activities. The campaign will start the 1st of June for children in Vestfold and will end on the 1st of September. We’ll be updating the blog to tell you more about this project and the process very soon :)

It’s been such a pleasure to work with the coolest library employees in Norway and creating such a unique and inspiring project together :)


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Kids & Coding

25th March 2014

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Two weeks ago, we held a lecture at our local library to teach adults how to use a program called Scratch, to help teach children (and grown-ups, because it’s a lot of fun) about computer programming.

Scratch
Scratch is a brilliant flash application, where you can create what you want and let your imagination go wild. Instead of “writing” computer code, you piece it together like Lego, but it uses the same logic and way of thinking as more traditional computer code. You can create animations, applications, games, presentations and even some fancy art! Scratch is a great way to teach children coding and is a brilliant stepping-stone in teaching the importance of computer programming to children.

Why is it so important to teach children computer programming?
“Kids are tech wiz’s” we often hear, but that’s rarely the case. They know how to start the engine and drive the car, but do not understand how the engine works. When they are asked how to fix something on the computer that they have not done before, they find it difficult and can get easily distracted by social media (the easy way out).

Most people these days will take their car to the car mechanic if it breaks down, but it didn’t used to be that way. Up to a couple of decades ago, the majority of people who owned a car, most likely knew how to fix it. As cars developed, they became easier to drive, more comfortable to use, but also more advanced and intricate in their technology. When you open a car bonnet these days, you don’t see the engine any more, you see a fancy plastic surface, and a little label saying “Oil” with an arrow.

The same is happening with computers. As we progress onto using a tablet/computer, we are learning how to push buttons without understanding the underlying technology. Even for a computer-literate parent, we often repair and fix the problem for them, instead of letting them figure it out themselves. In essence, computer literacy is having the ability to tackle problems that you’ve never encountered before.

We are creating a generation of people who know how to use a computer, but don’t have a clue about how they work. Software is becoming more locked down, and when you open the “car bonnet” you only see a label saying “Oil”.

The future
There is one major difference between software and cars and that is the Internet, which offers all of the tools and knowledge you would need to build or understand programs! Understanding how software is made gives one a deeper understanding of the computer’s method of thinking, and will allow you to tackle common computer problems in a new way.

References:
Kids Can’t Use Computers…
Code.org


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Spring around the corner

10th March 2014

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Spring is just around the corner and we are very much looking forward to the greenery coming back. It might be a little bit too early to be expecting a spring in Norway, but let’s be a little optimistic :D We will start going back to our regular routine of regular hiking trips into the forest of Horten, to explore the beautiful scenery with the camera and the two little dogs. With all the snow we’ve had the last 3 months, it will be nice to see the forest come back to life again, even if the photo above is from last year. One of our friends in Norway has spotted the true spring appearing in Norway (http://instagram.com/p/lUHY9TiZJo/)

With more forest walks in Spring, we find it helps a lot when it comes to our inspiration and creativity and we are planning to start a little photography series, here on the blog, all about Nature and Wildlife.

What do you do when your looking for inspiration? Go for walks, run or read? :)


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