What’s the best way to image a room? A picture? Hah — don’t be so old-fashioned! You want a LIDAR rig to scan the space and reconstruct it as a 3D point map in your computer.

Hot on the heels of [Saulius Lukse]’s scanning thermometer, he’s replaced the thermal camera on their pan/tilt setup with a time-of-flight (TOF) camera — a Garmin LIDAR — capable of 500 samples per second and end up scanning their room in a mere fifteen minutes. Position data is combined with the ranging information to produce a point cloud using Python. Open that file in a 3D manipulation program and you’ll be treated to a sight like this:

That’s an image generated of a 4.7 million point cloud. It’s not perfect, but it’ll certainly do.

[Lukse] laments that the camera requires ideal lighting conditions that make it unsuitable to for a lot of outdoor imaging and is similarly limited to shorter ranges. It also necessitates hauling a laptop around so he’s considering making it an all-in-one package down the road.

Want to more about how LIDAR works? Check out this teardown video of a police speed enforcement LIDAR ‘gun.’ Or have a look at this (faster) completely DIY laser scanner.



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