Cheap 3D scanning makes reverse engineering easier than ever

Somewhere in the Welsh countryside, a man in a field is walking around a horse while waving a stick-like tool in the air. At first glance it looks like some kind of primitive ritual, perhaps to bring luck at the racecourse. Or perhaps he is just mad. But in fact the tool is a 3D scanner and the man is capturing an image of the horse’s body. After just 30 seconds the job is done and the tablet connected to the scanner shows a detailed and accurate 3D reconstruction of the animal. 
As this scene illustrates, 3D scanners have come a long way in the past decade. Eight years ago it was very much a niche technology, says James Earl, managing director of 3D-scanning company OR3D, and the man scanning the horse. You’d have arm-type systems - very expensive bits of kit that were £30,000 to £40,000 upwards.

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