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Top Story

Inexpensive camera offers alternative for 3-D scans

Researchers used $150 in hardware and some free software to rig up a system that has since produced a 3-D scan of the entire 5-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex skull at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Another set of researchers--including dentists, anthropologists, veterinarians and paleontologists--is using the
3-D scan to analyze strange holes in the skull’s jawbone. The $150 prototype incorporates a camera designed for video gaming and software that produces a 3-D map of a visual scene. One of the researchers envisions that the prototype, called Kinect, could prove useful in paleontology, archaeology and anthropology. For example, an archaeologist who unearths a large, fragile artifact in a remote corner of the world could scan it and immediately share the scan with colleagues around the world.

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