SIGGRAPH 2006 is now in progress in Boston. The 33rd International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques is, in its usual fashion, a bonanza of all things futuristic in both medicine and technology in general. From interactive robotic bears for sick kids to open-heart surgery simulators, this exhibit profiles the most interesting ideas of tomorrow’s medicine. Our correspondents are standing by to report to you in the next couple of days on these exciting technologies.
We begin with the Z Corporation, a Burlington, Mass company, that unveiled the ZScanner™ 700, “the first handheld, self-positioning 3D scanner on the market that can digitize 3D surfaces in real time.” Not specifically designed for clinical work (and not approved by the FDA), this laser-based device can nonetheless be used for medical education and, probably, for a whole range of pathology and forensic medicine applications. “Create highly detailed reproductions of complex organs and bone structures”, company says. We also envision the use of this device for biomedical engineering.
About ZScanner™ 700:
The ZScanner™ 700 gives designers and engineers an entirely new way to capture 3D data with unprecedented speed, ease of use and versatility for a wide range of new and emerging applications. Z Corp. demonstrated the innovation today at SIGGRAPH 2006, the leading computer graphics conference.
The ZScanner 700’s unique self-positioning capability makes 3D scanning simple and efficient. All other systems require fixed-position tripods, bulky mechanical arms, or external positioning devices that must be within the line of sight of the target surface, making hard-to-reach surfaces nearly impossible to scan. The ZScanner 700 is the first part-referenced 3D scanner, orienting itself to the target object rather than an external device. As a result, it is also the first 3D scanner that allows the user to move the target object during scanning, and it is the first 3D scanner to display a real-time on-screen image of the surface being scanned.
These capabilities plus handheld portability make the ZScanner 700 ideally suited for scanning complex surfaces and hard-to-reach areas like car interiors. It captures data in one continuous scan rather than in numerous shots from fixed positions, eliminating hours of post-processing time to integrate static shots into a cohesive scan. ZScan™ software, included with the scanner, automatically produces an .stl file for import into a 3D CAD software package or output to a 3D printer.