3d Scanning Prototype


The Scanmobil is a 3D scanning prototype and the product of my bachelor thesis. A main idea behind this project is to speed up the time-consuming process of creating photogrammetry scans but also to make the capturing process more comfortable. Another aim was to solve a general problem when trying to capture bigger objects like cars or statues from bigger heights. This project was made possible by financial funding of the HEC IT-Engineering company and received the third price of the Frese Design Award in 2018.

The problem

Photogrammetry is a great tool. In comparison to other 3D scanning technologies it allows the creation of very high detailed 3D scans to a relatively low level of costs. All that’s needed are good pictures from a certain amount of different angles and a photogrammetry software will do the rest. If it was just as easy as it sounds. Since the taken pictures need to overlap at least to 50-60% sometimes a lot of pictures from a lot of different angles are necessary to create good results. A small Object usually takes around 35-50 pictures. A medium sized room already needs hundreds of pictures. Depending on the desired level of detail and general size or complexity it can be over a thousand and more. Whoever tried to master this technology knows that requires a lot of practice and patience.

Another problem is the height of some objects. In case you need to take pictures from the top of higher objects you’ll feel the limitations of a standard tripod quickly.

The solution

The solution to speeding up the capturing process is to use multiple, synchronised cameras. The cameras (Canon S11) are installed on a flexible arm with several joints that allow the arms to be adjusted in different angles.

They are running a custom firmware called CHDK, short for Canon Hacking Developers Kit. It is installed on the SD-Card and allows remote USB control via PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) or a 5V cable trigger.

The camera arm can be installed directly at the base tripod or on an optional jib-arm that enables the user to take pictures from up to 3 meters. A handheld operation is also possible.