3D scanners were once massive, expensive tools built entirely for industrial purposes. Fortunately, science is on the case, and now you can fit one into a smartphone. Finally, we can see not just the angle, but the depth of the dangle!
Joking aside, CalTech’s 3D scanner in a smartphone is impressive technology. According to Popular Science, they call it a “nanophotonic coherent imager,” and it’s essentially a tiny laser version of radar. You point your phone at the object you want to scan, click a button, and the millimeter-square device blasts it with laser light, using the reflections to create a 3D scan of whatever you happen to have it pointed at.
Fortunately for the women of the world, right now it’s relatively low-detail. It uses a four-by-four LIDAR arrangement, so any image it takes is only 16 pixels in depth. While they’re working on software to stitch together these 16-pixel images into larger 3D scans and can scan a penny to a micron from a foot away, the technology is still relatively crude. Think “early iPhone panorama” crude.
That said, they claim it can easily be scaled up and larger arrays added, and it’s still incredibly useful in the sense that it would make 3D scanning for legitimate purposes far easier and much more convenient. Even so, this technology means that the 3D, fully-printable, dick pic is really only a matter of time at this point. Hopefully Caltech is hard at work on photo-blocking and mind-erasure software; really, it’s the least they can do.
Source: Popular Science