As NASA is laying the groundwork for its manned mission to Mars, it uses Artec 3D scanners to develop mind-boggling haptic VR simulators. That’s where future astronauts are trained to handle an array of tools in a low-to-zero-gravity environment. But as they are preparing to set foot somewhere beyond the Moon, are they really secured against each and every little mishap that may put at risk the very outcome of their extra-long-haul venture?
Let’s consider the simple act of washing your hair. Onboard a spaceship, you’d be better off without any hair at all. No hair, no wash, as Buddhist monks say. In a less favorable scenario, you’ll need to go through the tiresome ritual of watering your hair with a bit of piped-in water, then massaging some no-rinse shampoo into your hair, and finally drying it off with a towel. At least that’s how they do it at the International Space Station.
What if on hair washing session #4582, after years spent in the company of the same bunch of chaps, who will no doubt have started to get you down before you reach the centennial anniversary of your hair washing saga, what if that pall of seeping despair will start to work on you in a way that will eventually make you pop open your shampoo bottle so forcefully that the top of the bottle cap will break? Hurry and plug the bottle with that little chunk of plastic before the shampoo starts floating around!
By the next hair wash, you’ll need to come up with a more workable and less stressful solution, especially if that’s your last bottle of shampoo. And Artec 3D has one such solution. Artec 3D scanning technology is there to create a 3D model of just about any object you may need out in space, not to mention down here on Earth. The 3D model can then be sent to a 3D printer in just a few clicks and transformed into a plastic twin of the original object. See how Artec Micro, an ultra-precision automatic 3D scanner has captured the inner and outer surfaces of this shampoo bottle cap in minute detail.
The cap was made of semi-transparent plastic and required a bit of dusting with an airbrush. Then it was mounted on the scanner’s rotating platform with a clamp. A couple of mouse clicks — and scanning commenced. Micro calculates which angles are best for capturing the object, in order to collect all necessary data without redundant megabytes of frames. Once the first scanning session is done, turn the object over and launch the second session. Simply fuse both scans into a watertight 3D model and there you go — your anti-stress godsend is ready for action.