Obtaining a high-quality 3D digital model of a physical object can be a fiddly process, that often requires considerable user input. German research and development company NEK, however, is attempting to make things easier, with its OrcaM Orbital Camera System. Users just place an object inside of its “reconstruction sphere,” then the system goes to work, automatically creating a near-perfect three-dimensional recreation of the object.
Presently, OrcaM is limited to objects with a diameter no larger than 80 centimeters (31.5 in), and weighing no more than 100 kilograms (220.5 lbs).
The process begins with the user sliding back the camera head, opening up the sphere, and placing their object inside. Once the sphere has been closed and the head slid back into place, the acquisition stage can begin. This involves the head slowly moving around the sphere, systematically snapping high-definition images of the object from every angle, via its seven cameras. A matrix of lights on the inside surface of the sphere illuminate the object differently for every shot, to best capture all of the intricate details of its geometry. Users don’t need to calibrate the cameras or lighting system, as the system performs that function automatically.
Once the scanning is completed, a linked computer creates a 3D model of the object, using the captured images. According to NEK, features that are still in development for the system include the abilities to scan through plate glass and to recreate semi-transparent objects, along with simplified one-button use, and portability. OrcaM can be seen in use, in the video above.