November 10th, 2001
[2015 Jennifer and 1985 Jennifer see each other; they gasp in unison] 1985 Jennifer: I'm old! 2015 Jennifer: I'm young! [both faint] Doc: Marty! Marty! Marty, come quick. Quick.— Back to the Future Part II, 1989
In 2018, after getting back into working with the Arduino Uno via my KITT project, I decided to go bigger. At the time, I was into playing VRChat, a game where avatars can be imported in via 3-D models. This sparked my interest in 3-D modelling again, which, combined with my recent KITT project, prompted me to create a 3-D scanner.
I used the supplies available to me at my high school to build it, mostly using parts from Vex Robotics kits and an assortment of Arduino components, such an infrared sensor. These materials were not very well suited for my project and thus caused some problems down the line.
At its core, the scanner was not too complex. It took the form of a chair-like shape (as can be seen in the images below). A motor was housed beneath the 'seat' which would spin the object to be scanned. The 'back of the chair' housed a motor and gear system that would slowly move the IR sensor downwards after each 360° rotation of the turntable, with the sensor taking a reading after each small turn.
The problems arose with the mount for the IR sensor. The Vex components did not fit well enough together to allow the sensor to descend properly. After weeks of haphazard attempts to resolve this, my solution was to keep one hand on the top of the descending piece in order to provide enough force to overcome its troubles.
My friend Juho Kim made a program that worked together with my scanner to collate the readings it outputted and assemble them into a 3-D model. Though the data was not quite precise enough for it to be a very accurate model, his program worked wonders (especially with better suited data).
Unfortunately, since the scanner was made up of the school's parts, it had to be disassembled. However, some photos remain of it, as can be seen below. As well, the code that I wrote to operate the scanner (with some modifications by Juho to make it connect to his renderer) can be seen on its GitHub repository:
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