We’ve known about the 3D scanning capabilities of the Xbox Kinect for some time now, the hackerspace cottoned on to it with months of the device becoming available. In fact this YouTube video was posted within days of the launch.
It became even more accessible late last year as amateurs and hackers alike were able to download Faro’s app SCENECT which is based upon the company’s professional laser scan software SCENE . SCENECT allows the user to attach the Kinect to a laptop fire up the app and professionally capture 3D objects.
It was then, therefore, only a matter of time before Microsoft starting plugging the Kinect as not just a revolutionary, hands free, gesture controlled gaming device but a professional scanner too.
At TechFest this week in Redmond, Washington Microsoft announced that using Kinect Fusion system users can officially now attach the Kinect to Windows 8 and use as a 3D scanner, Shahram Izadi Microsoft Research Cambridge's senior researcher clarified:
“The amazing thing about this solution is how you can take an off-the-shelf Kinect for Windows sensor and create 3D models rapidly. Normally when you think of Kinect, you think of a static sensor in a living room. But with Kinect Fusion, we allow the user to hold the camera, explore their space, and rapidly scan the world around them."
A decent quality consumer 3D scanner, like the NextEngine one would set you back as much as £3,000 ($4500, €3500), you can pick up a Kinect for around the £100 ($150, €115). Hopefully we'll see some real quality scans at a super affordable rate very soon.