This semester has been filled with quite a few interesting and new experiences, but the most enjoyable was definitely my experience with PhotoScan. I like the idea that we can take anything in our lives, digitize it, and store it indefinitely. Say, you go to the beach and build the greatest sand castle ever with a moat, drawbridge and the whole package. In a few hours, that sandcastle will be washed away, but with PhotoScan, you can take some pictures, create a replica of it on your computer and preserve it for more than a lifetime. It’s amazing that we can stitch a few hundred photos together like that, and effectively reconstruct an object on a computer.
In class, we have seen PhotoScan work as an educational tool, but what about using it as a documentation tool or a scrapbooking tool? Digitizing objects like your first teddy bear or your first baseball glove can be a great way to save memories. Things like a stuffed animal or a favorite toy slowly fall apart over time regardless of how careful you are. By using PhotoScan, you remove the element of time. It is definitely not the same as cuddling with your childhood bear, but being able to see the small juice stain on its nose from “that one time” is quite comforting. Of course, a picture can do this just as easily but a 3D model has an extra dimension of realism that photos cannot achieve. The 3D models can then be cataloged and stored on programs like Omeka. It would work exactly like a virtual scrapbook. You would be able to scroll through 3D models, pictures, and videos that are neatly cataloged. You can then add diary entries to document the details surrounding the experience. Rather than having a real scrapbook that itself can decay and fall apart over time, a virtual scrapbook is eternal.
Let’s take it one step further. Yes, a virtual scrapbook is cool and all, but what if you could make your childhood teddy bear come to life. With the way technology is progressing, we will be able to do just that. With all of the advancements that are happening with 3D printers, it would not be a stretch of the imagination to see 3D printers become a regular household object. Think about it, in twenty years, when your kids are flipping through your virtual scrapbook and find your long lost teddy bear, they could print out an exact replica of it and experience the same toy you loved as a child. PhotoScan has a lot of other interesting applications that can change the very way we live our lives.
With changes to PhotoScan and combining the program with new technologies, it may be possible to scan the microscopic as well as the macroscopic. Scaling it down, it could be used to scan compounds for pharmaceutical companies; Photoscan could very well be the gateway to the cure for cancer. Taking it up a notch, it Technology may allow people to take virtual tours, like exploring Disney without actually going to Disney. Taking it a step further, it could even be used to make 3D models of distant galaxies. The macroscopic and microscopic are just a stone’s throw away. Simply put, PhotoScan and programs like PhotoScan are the future.