Scanning with Skanect and Kinect
Some months ago I had an assignment at work related to 3D scanning, and to do this obviously we needed a 3d scanner. At work we have the Konica Minolta 9i Vivid (and the Microscribe 3D scanner), but the problem is that the Minolta scanner has some requirements to work properly (temperature, dust free area, light controlled area, etc) and it is really bulky! there is a briefcase that contains the camera and some other containers for the calibration sistem, rails, tripod and well you know what I mean..
Another 3d scanner?
An alternative was to buy another 3d digitizer, a portable one that could be used in outdoors, with only a laptop and a portable power generator to get 110 volts ( the kinect camera requieres it and we needed a lamp there due to the darkness in some areas of the tomb) but at the same time it was impossible to wait a bit longer because we have a limited time to make the 3D scanning, so buy another one was not a option.
The place where the scanner was intended to be used was a really dusty area, too much sun (despite the area was kinda isolated with awnings), too windy from time to time, and very moist inside (it was an ancient tomb 500 BC) so it was impossible to use the Minolta scanner that we own.
So due to circumstances, we decided to use the kinect that comes with the MS Xbox console we have, and Skanect software. Maybe the kinect is not the best scanner but it was the only option to get the job done.
Once we got the Skanect software and Kinect hardware, testing was done to understand the working on it, despite it looked very easy to use.
Once everything was ready to start, we moved to the excavation area and started to digitize, and as a matter of fact we have to use surgical masks and gloves to avoid DNA contamination in the area, because further investigations in that subject were going to be done in the area when the 3d scanning get completed.
Inside the tomb, this was just some of the artifacts encountered there, according to the archaeologist that ceramic is a representation of a warrior or “chaman”
- Light conditions after 10:00 am results in poor performance for the scanner.
- Light conditions Before 10 am were good, so we decided to work from 7 am to 8-9 am.
- Too much dust, even the laptop had some problems due to that, and corrective and preventive maintenance were done each day after scanning
- The laptop graphic card (HD Graphics 3000) turn out to work pretty well with Skanect software, even better than my desktop PC Quadro FX 4600.
- It was great to work with archaeologist guys, at least for some hours
- The first days working on field, I forgot to wear sunscreen and I got my skin burnt, that’s why ended up using a sweatshirt next days after that “funny” event x).
Here is a sample model scanned with Kinect, it is not so perfect because is was not reconstructed with high definition.
In my opinion I think it was a nice experience to work (at least for a couple of ours each day we get there) with the guys in the excavation, they seem to be really interested in what we do and how we do, and I have to say that I feel the same, because working behind a desk all day long is, sometimes, kinda “tired”, and have an opportunity to work in the field closely with them, and being able to ask questions about their work, and saw how they did it, was a really good experience.
And not to mention that is not very usual for common people to get inside an ancient tomb and be one of the first persons to get there after 1500 years.