February 10, 2013 report
Point and shoot camera produces 3-D models
(Phys.org)—The Kickstarter campaign launched by Lynx Laboratories, from Austin, Texas, is off to a swift-kick start. Obviously, visitors to their page like what they promise. With their goal of $50,000, they have at the time of this writing raised $53,358, with 36 days to go. Their six-pound sensation is a point and shoot 3-D camera promoted as a step up in affordable 3-D modeling. According to the team, "If you can use a point-and-shoot Nikon, you'll find the Lynx even easier to use."
The word "camera" merits explaining, because this is far from the conventional 2-D camera used for clicking ocean sunsets or snapping pictures of a dancing toddler. This 3-D camera is designed for scanning objects and delivering results quickly.
The Lynx A is aptly described by bloggers as a digital image capturing device that can not only capture subjects in 3-D but also perform motion capture. The shape of the plastic handheld device is comparable to an oversized tablet, managed with the use of buttons and joysticks for controls. This is not for the casual camera hobbyist as it is targeted toward people whose professions include working with visual effects, architectural surveying, or video game engineering. The user can choose from three features, which are scene modeling, object modeling, or motion capture. The latter feature is especially fun to watch in the demo video. A user can point the camera, press record, and an actor, moving around, can become the source of animated computer-generated characters.
According to Lynx Laboratories, with all three features, a user can immediately output the files into formats used in a workflow including PLY, OBJ, STL, XYZ, JPS, and BVH.
Front-mounted optics include a 640x480 color camera and a 3-D sensor for capturing depth information. A 14-inch color LCD screen presents an instant view of imaging results. The device has a graphics card for capture/render and storage. There are two USB ports, and Ethernet can be used to retrieve software updates. Data can be moved to a computer with a USB stick. The processor is an Intel Core i5 2.6GHz. According to their campaign page, the battery is good for four hours.
As for code, the team said the entirety of the code base is not open source, but they intend to open-source an image-processing library later this year.
"The software was developed from the ground up in-house with few exceptions." Its approaches, they added, had to be coded from scratch. "The few exceptions include part of our motion capture library and some standard helper libraries."
The Lynx device price range is from $1,799 to $3,499. The creators said they will use a substantial part of the money they raise for a limited production run, working with suppliers and manufacturers to speed up production and lower the cost of materials needed.
They said they also want to use the money to recruit more talent over to their present five-person team.
© 2013 Phys.org