Desktop CT and 3D scanner

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Computed tomography (CT) or computed axial tomography (CAT) is most often associated with imaging the body because it enables clinicians to see the anatomical structure inside the patient without having to do any surgery. To image inside the human body, a CT scanner requires X-rays because the radiation has to be able to penetrate through the body. If the object is semi-transparent, it is actually possible to conduct CT scanning using visible light! The technique is called optical CT.

I decided to build a desktop system of my own so I could see CT in action. In the process, I also adapted the device for 3D imaging through photogrammetry. The box for holding the electronics and object was first designed in Fusion360, and constructed using wood, PVC joints, dowel rods, and custom designed parts. 

The camera is triggered using a remote shutter, while the object is rotated with a stepper motor. After images are acquired from many angles, the 3D construction is computed using either Matlab or PhotoScan. The full instructable on the project can be found here.

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I constructed an optical CT scanner using an Arduino Nano and Nikon dSLR that can acquire 3D scans of semi-transparent objects. The scanner also can collect images for 3D scanning small objects through photogrammetry.
Aha! moment: 
The AHA moment of this project was the realization that 3D scanning requires much of the same hardware as CT scanning. Therefore, I could add 3D scanning capabilities to the device by just adding a light source in the front.
Uh-oh! moment: 
I couldn't figure out why the shutter remote only worked part of the time. Finally, I realized it was a simple mistake: the jack that plugs into the camera has directionality but can be pushed into the camera either way.
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Creation Date: 
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 20:31