MIT researchers used a $150 Microsoft Kinect to 3D scan a giant T. rex skull
The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago discovered a giant T. rex skull in 1990 and have been studying mysterious holes in its jaw that were previously thought to be either bite marks from a predator or damage caused by eating diseased prey.
In order to further their research, they needed a high resolution scan of the skull so that they could study it more closely. After trying to scan it with prototype high-end equipment, they realized the skull was too large to get a proper image. However, this task was easily achieved with Microsoft Kinect, an in-depth-sensing camera and free MeshLab software.
“A lot of people will be able to start using this,” says Anshuman Das, a research scientist at the Camera Culture group. “That’s the message I want to send out to people who would generally be cut off from using technology — for example, paleontologists or museums that are on a very tight budget. There are so many other fields that could benefit from this.”
Not only is this option a practical and accessible one, it can also be easily shared in the cloud.
Why it’s Hot:
Sometimes the most expensive option isn’t the best one. Less expensive technologies that can be used for high complexity tasks can open doors to more people and organizations and democratize the pursuit of knowledge.