Recreating physical things in the digital world is nothing new. We’ve been doing it, and getting better at it, for the past several decades. We’ve seen tons of different methods of recreating something here as a believable digital something there, from basic CGI to emerging tech like the insane facial-recognition software used for the game L.A. Noire. None of them, however, have been quite as cool as the OrcaM reconstruction sphere. This is some straight-up Tron shit right here.
The device’s full, official name is the OrcaM Orbital Camera System, but that’s not even half as cool as the “reconstruction sphere” nickname. It’s well named, too, because the sphere will recreate a 3D model of anything placed inside it, accurate down to the submillimeter. The digital version of the scanned item will recreate color, texture, and reflectivity. You can see a side-by-side comparison of a scanned vase and its digital counterpart below.
So how does this nifty little device work? The OrcaM uses seven different cameras which rotate around the object being scanned, bombarding it with different combinations of light and shadow so the OrcaM can get a complete image of the object’s shape, texture, and definition. Just pop in, say, the severed head of one of your enemies, press a button, and you’ll have a perfectly rendered digital copy of your trophy long after the original has rotted away. It even has less sociopathic applications. The clever folks over at Dvice suggest a future where you could pair a reconstruction sphere with a 3D printer and get not just a digital copy, but an actual, identical physical copy of an object as well.
We may not have flying cars, but we’re definitely living in a science fictional age, folks. Here’s a video of the reconstruction sphere at work.