David and Nextengine 3D Scanners

DAVID Laserscanner Software

DAVID-laserscanner is a very low-cost system for contact-free scanning of 3d objects. The only hardware requirements are a simple commercial hand-held laser and a standard camera.

A free edition of the David Laserscanner (current version released on March 2, 2012), with limited saving,  including a trial version of the David Shapefusion software, is available at the website. The unlimited pro-version costs 329 EUR. DAVID-Shapefusion is more than just an ordinary stitching tool, it allows a convenient alignment and combination of 3D scans from different viewing directions.

The David-Laserscanner website provides a download, gallery, forum, wiki, FAQ, references an user guide section. The lasershop offers cameras, lasers, software and accessories, from a starterkit (499 EUR) up to a structured light kit (1773,10 EUR).

A comparison of the David – Laserscanner with the worlds most popular 3D scanner, the NextEngine priced at 2.995 US $, was done in 2009 in the David – Laserscanner forum. In the meantime the speed of the David – Laserscanner has been increased with the structured light solution.


ReconstructMe 3D Scanner and Youworld

Last update : May 29, 2012

Youworld by Mark Florquin ; rendered 3D scans of family and friends ; 18 May 2012

ReconstructMe is an intuitive 3D realtime reconstruction system offering unique features :

  • Multiple 3D sensor support (Microsoft Kinect, ASUS Xtion Pro Live
  • Offline reconstruction from existing file streams
  • Resuming reconstructions at any point in time
  • Surface export to common 3D file formats such as .stl or .obj

ReconstructMe is free for non-commercial use and is being developed and maintained by enthusiastic software engineers at PROFACTOR GmbH. The initiator of ReconstructMe and one of its main contributors is Christoph Heindl who owns the personal blog cheind.wordpress.com.

There are countless applications of the ReconstructMe technology, such as scanning objects to duplicate with a 3D printer, importing yourself into a video game, …

The official ReconstructMe Homepage launched in january 2012 has a blog, download, help, media, purchase and legal section to provide all necessary informations to start using this outstanding technology. The current version of the software is 0.6.0-405 released end May 2012. The commercial version was launched on May 29, 2012; the price for a single seat license is 360 EUR.

Mark Florquin, a photographer from Belgium, is the first artist to use the Kinect & ReconstructMe technology to scan his family and friends and to render photos of these 3D models. He created an own world (Youworld)  to publish the results on his website.

Sphero : a robotic ball and 3D controller

Last update : November 30, 2013

Sphero by Orbotix

Sphero by Orbotix

Today I received my Sphero from Orbotix. Sphero is a smart robot inside an opaque, high-impact, waterproof polycarbonate shell. It’s charged with a cable-free induction charger. It glows in thousands of colors and can move (roll) up to 1 meter per second. Sphero connects with Bluetooth to iOS and Android tablets and smartphones.

The Sphero_Ball can be used as a game for adults, kids and pets or as an 3D controller for various applications. There are over 20 free apps and some paid apps available. A Full API and Mobile SDK for iOS and Android allows developers to create additional aps. I particularly enjoy to play Last Fish with the SpheroBall as 3D controller.

Last Fish

Last Fish

Orbotix was founded in 2010 by Ian Bernstein and Adam Wilson.

In August 2013, Orbotix launched Sphero 2 which is twice as fast, three times as brightly lit and much smarter than the first generation ball, which is now called Sphero Original. Sphero 2 is compatible with up to 25 different applications and games, along with the standard Sphero_App’s.

Sphero user guide

When the ball flashes red three times, his battery is low and he needs charging. The ball is charged by popping him with the heavy side down in the induction charger. To find his heavy side, place him on a hard surface like a table. Sphero will naturally settle with this sweet spot at the bottom. The charger will blink blue when charging begins. After about 3 hours, the blue light becomes solid and the ball is ready to roll. If the ball is awake when charging starts, he confirms the correct charging with a rainbow cycle of  colors before going to sleep..

A quick double shake of the Sphero wakes the ball up, setting its light show going – after which it will be available to connect over Bluetooth.The ball can be put to sleep with the basic Sphero app. It falls asleep when it is inactive during a few minutes.

You need to pair your device with the ball on Bluetooth in the settings before starting an iOS or Android app. When Sphero is paired with a device, it is not visible for other devices. You must unpair it with the current device, if you want to use it with another device. When the unpairing is not possible (for instance if the current device is not available), it’s necessary to reset Sphero by placing him in the charger and running a strong magnet around his circumference. A video demonstrates this technique.

Sphero Development

Orbotix supports developers by providing a blog, a forum, documentation, resources, official SDK’s (iOS, Android, Unity3D, Windows 8.1, Augmented Reality (AR), …) and unofficial SDK’s (Node, Arduino, Python, Ruby, …) on its Sphero Developer Center.

Links to additional informations about Sphero are listed below :

I updated my Sphero firmware  a first time on May 9, 2013 (software version 2.1.2 : firmware version 1.45; Bootloader version 1.7;  Sphero identifier : 00066644024C). A second update was done on November 30, 2013 with App version 3.1.21; firmware version is now 1.49.

Miku Miku Dance (MMD)

MikuMikuDance (MMD) is a freeware animation program that lets users animate and create 3D animation movies for Vocaloid models. MikuMikuDance was programmed by Yu Higuchi and has gone through significant upgrades since its creation. Its production was made as part of the Vocaloid Promotion Video Project (VPVP).

The software allows users to import 3D models into a virtual space that can be moved and animated accordingly. The following features are available :

  • import of .wav files to create music videos
  • import and export of motion data
  • integrated physics engine
  • use of Microsoft’s Kinect
  • map shadowing

Miku Miku Dance screen snap

The software comes with a number of 3D models based on the mascots of Crypton Future Media Vocaloids. The default models Miku, Meiko, Kaito, Kagamine Rin/Len, Akita Neru and Haku Yowane were created by Animasa, the default Sakine Meiko model was created by Kio. All content, including the 3D models, is distributed freely by the users and most of its additional content is produced by fans using 3D modeling software. As recognition and popularity of Vocaloids grew, the japanese video hosting platform Nico Nico Douga became a place for collaborate content creation.

The first version of Miku Miku Dance was released on February, 24, 2008.  An english version was released one month later. On May 26, 2011, Yu Higuchi announced he would retire from developing MMD. The last stable release of the program is version 7.30.

Additional useful informations about Miku Miku Dance are available at the following links :

3D Printers

Last update : May 15, 2013
3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology where a three dimensional object is created by laying down successive layers of material. 3D printing is  considered as e-manufacturing. A list of available industrial and home 3D printers is given below :

Home 3D printers :

ReplicatorG  is a software that will drive your home 3D printer or generic CNC machine. You can give it a GCode or STL file to process, and it takes it from there. It’s cross platform, easily installed, and is based on the familiar Arduino / Processing environments.

Industrial 3D printers :

The following  3D printing providers offer web based services for private customers :



MotionPortrait Inc is an japanese entertainment solution company that creates “Surprise and Impression” pursuing technology and creativity.

You can apply MotionPortrait as web sales promotion tools in various business scenes with its realistic expression, easy operation and low installation cost.  MotionPortrait provides its technology for various platforms such as mobile phones, the web and game consoles.

The most exciting applications for mobile phones (iOS, Android, …) are :

  • PhotoSpeak : 3D Talking Photo
  • 3D Animalizer : transforms you and your friends into 3D animals
  • uMovie : movies starring YOU
  • MillionFace : takes a single portrait photo and transforms it into over a million face variations in a 3D interactive movie

Google Body and Biodigital Human

Last update : August 9, 2012

Google Body

Google Bodybrowser

On December 15th, 2010, Google announced the launch in Google Labs of an interesting WebGL application called Body Browser, which lets you explore the human body just like you can explore the world in Google Earth.

Google Body (Google Human) is a detailed 3D model of the human body. You can peel back anatomical layers, zoom in, click to identify anatomy, or search for muscles, organs, bones and more. You can also share the exact scene you are viewing by copying and pasting the URL.

To view the body application, you need a Web browser that supports WebGL. I use Google Chrome.

The 3D body data was provided by the Zygote Media Group, Inc., a leading company in the development of Bio-Medical 3D content (since 1994).

Zygote offers stock 3D models, images and animation of the Human Anatomy Collections through the website 3DScience.com. These collections are the best and most comprehensive available. The artistic and illustrative value is unquestionable while remaining medically accurate.

3D anatomy collection of Zygote

Late 2011, the Google Body application was disabled. A commercial 3D platform BioDigital Human that simplifies the understanding of anatomy, disease and treatments has been launched in the meantime by Biodigital. Founded in 2002, BioDigital is the leading developer of state of the art biomedical visualization systems.

WebGL – OpenGL for the Web

WebGL brings plugin-free 3D to the web, implemented right into the browser. Major browser developpers Apple (Safari), Google (Chrome), Mozilla (Firefox), and Opera (Opera) are members of the WebGL Working Group.

WebGL is a cross-platform, royalty-free web standard for a low-level 3D graphics API based on OpenGL ES 2.0, exposed through the HTML5 Canvas element as Document Object Model interfaces.  It stays very close to the OpenGL ES 2.0 specification, with some concessions made for what developers expect out of memory-managed languages such as JavaScript.

WebGL  is developped by the Khronos Group, a not for profit, member-funded consortium focused on the creation of royalty-free open standards for parallel computing, graphics and dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices. The Khronos Group was founded in January 2000 by a number of leading media-centric companies, including 3Dlabs, ATI, Discreet, Evans & Sutherland, Intel, NVIDIA, SGI and Sun Microsystems.

A guide how to get a WebGL implementation is available at the Khronos wiki website.

The current stable version of the Google Chrome 8 browser can be WebGL enabled by entering about:flags in the address bar and enabling the feature. A better (default) support of WebGL is provided with the Google Chrome Canari browser (the development version 10.0.614.0).

The following links point to websites with useful informations, tutorials, tools and ressources about WebGL :

Tools for Flash 3D engines

The following tools are available to import and animate objects or to add other features to the 3D Flash engines :

Cast 3D

Cast3D is 3D animation framework library for Adobe Flash in ActionScript3. The foundation is a multi key-framed geometrical animation. Cast3D supports geometry and texture morphing, skin animation, 3D sound, animated movie and video. A number of animation interpolation splines is implemented to provide smooth and natural motion, like Bezier, TCB, Hemite(cubic), Cosine and Linear.

Cast3D does not have it’s own rendering engine. So for 3D graphics rendering Cast3D currently is ported to popular 3D engines, Sandy3D and Papervision3D. Version 0.98 of Cast 3D was released on august 12, 2009 under MIT licence.

AwayBuilder (PreFab3D)

The PreFab3D tool (AwayBuilder) simplifies common tasks, improve the workflow and greatly enhance the visual quality of the Flash 3D productions. It’s a small but powerfull tool that can add visual quality to low polygon models using a nice bag of tricks thanks to the advanced rendering capabilities of Away3D.


JSAway, created by fellow Away3D team member Stephen White, brings the capability of the Away3D Flash 3D graphics API to the web and exposes it’s capability to JavaScript for rich interactive 3D web development.


JiglibFlash is a open source Actionscript 3D Physics Engine. FIVe3D support for JigLibFlash has now been added to the JigLibFlash SVN library.

3D engines for Flash

Flash 10 (Adobe Flash CS4 Professional) was released on october 14, 2008, has a native support of 3D and uses pixel blender for lighting. Adobe Pixel Bender technology delivers a common image and video processing infrastructure which provides automatic runtime optimization on heterogeneous hardware. You can use the Pixel Bender kernel language to implement image processing algorithms in a hardware-independent manner. The Pixel Bender graph language is an XML-based language for combining individual pixel-processing operations (kernels) into more complex Pixel Bender filters.

The following 3D engines for Flash are based on the native Flash 3d API :


CopperCube is a 3D engine / editor with deployment targets for Flash (.swf) and Windows (.exe). You can create simple interactive 3D scenes without the need to write one single line of code  or even create whole games with the help of a little bit of scripting magic. CopperCube supports realtime 3D character animation, also known as skeletal animation. It supports playing back animated meshes with an unlimited amount of joints and an unlimted amount of weights. Milkshape (.ms3d) is a recommended 3D software to import meshes and animations in CopperCube. Version 1.1.3 of CopperCube was released on january 14, 2010.

CopperCube is a product of the austrian company Ambiera e.U., located in Vienna and owned by Nikolaus Gebhardt. The price for a Light Edition license is 99 €, the Per-seat license for the professionbal version costs 295 €. A 30 days trial version is available for free.


Away3D is a realtime 3D engine for flash in actionscript 3, originally derived from Papervision3D. Away3D engine is designed to be fast and extensible. Away3d is an open source production, and relies on the talent and support of industry professionals to keep itself moving. Version 3.4 for Flash 10 was released on august 7th, 2009. The founders of Away3D are Rob Bateman (lead developer) and Alexander Zadorozhny (core developer). The Away3D Team includes about 12 other developers.

An Away3D Lite version is also available. Currently weighing in at under 25K, Away3D Lite can be used in projects with the most stringent bandwidth restrictions. No problem for use in banners, widgets, thumbnails… anything where filesize is a priority. But the biggest single feature offered by the new engine is it’s speed. Current tests clock framerates up to 4 times faster than the standard Away3D library. And with more frames-per-second comes the potential for more polygons, more accessible content on slower machines, and more processing power left for other areas of a Flash application.

Some outstanding examples of Away3D projects are “Café World” on Facebook used by 23 Million people a month, Multipass latern, Shaded Head, Spitfire , Dragonfly and Normalmaps.


PapervisionX is the next version of Papervision3D built from the ground up based on Flash10’s new 3D api. Ralph Hauwert and Tim were leading the initial efforts on the core of the engine. Papervision3D (pv3D) is an open source 3D engine for the Flash platform. It is written and maintained by a small core team, and contributed to by its ever-growing community. Papervision3D is distributed under the MIT license and is hosted by Google Code.

3D Pixel Engine

Freelancer Kris Temmerman, owner of the Neuro Productions company, is the creator of the 3d Pixel Engine. Instead of rendering each cube every frame in an isometric perspective, he renders only one cube and use that cube as a particle to render a full scene. This way he easily extends the limit of +-1000 cubes to 20.000 or more cubes in a Flash scene.

Kris Temmerman was motivated by the cool 3D pixel editor Q-BLOCK created by Okuyama Kazuya. He developed not only the 3D engine, but he made also a Collada parser witch converts a standard 3D mesh to a 3D pixel object to import external generated 3D objects. Some of Kris Temmermans experiments are really outstanding : 3D Fur Renderer, Collada Parser, Z-Brush Modelling, Simple Flash Ecosystem, Pushing data to Flash using binary sockets (Java / Flash), Dynamic Flash generated favicon, Custom brushes, Panoramic fun, Alice in Wonderland, Nurbs.

Kris Temmerman is a member of the Away3D Development Team and mainly responsible for the Flash 10 upgrade.


Alternativa3D is a browser 3D-engine based on Adobe Flash and allows to show three-dimentional worlds, games, virtual tours or objects in a browser. Alternativa3D is provided as SWC-library, which is availiable for all registered AlternativaPlatform users.

Alternativa3D is free for non-commercial purpose with condition to provide a link to AlternativaPlatform. A basic standard licence costs 1000 Euro for one commercial project. The current version is 5.6.0.  The Alternativa platform is developed by Alternativa Game, Ltd. in Russia, the team counts currently 15 people.


The multi-tasking Infinity3D engine for flash (as3) was designed by Alexei Mikhailovich Romanov from Petersburg. The latest version 1.4.D was released on september 17, 2009. The engine supports animated dynamic objects.

Yogurt3D (Y3D)

Yogurt 3d Engine Corp. announced in december 2009 that there free Adobe Flash 3D Engine API will be ready and available to download for everyone soon. Scene management, character animation and multiple scene support are some of the features included in the Yogurt3D Game Engine.


The FIVe3D initiative is an open source code for the conception of interactive vector-based 3D animations. The original Actionscript 2 code was ported to Actionscript 3 for Flash 10. The project is developed by Mathieu Badimon.

Like Papervision3D, the following 3D Flash engines are not yet based on the Flash 10 3D API, but nevertheless very performant:

Sophie 3D

Sophie 3D enables you to view  models online with the Flash Player. To do this the model needs to be saved in Wavefront OBJ format. Sophie3D gives you high quality fast renders by displaying over 80.000 polygons in realtime with textures, reflections, transparency and infinite number of lights.

Sophie 3D is one of the products developed at XOSystem. Sophie 3D Component is free to download and use on the condition that it is not used for commercial purposes and that the logo “Sophie 3D Engine” and all the other graphic elements are in no way hidden or modified.
Sophie 3D Component PRO for Adobe Flash Player has the retail price of 239,00 euro. The Sophie 3D Player Pro Licence is for a single domain use only and allows  to publish  3D models without the logo appearing on a 3D scene. It includes Sophie 3D Compressor that can reduce the size of a Wavefront .obj models by about 75%. For example a model file of 1Mb will be compacted to a file of 250Kb.

Sandy 3D

Sandy 3D is an intuitive and user-friendly 3D open-source library developed  now in Actionscript 3.0 for Adobe Flash. Sandy can be used in a commercial project. Sandy3.0 is able to render about 2000-5000 polygons correctly on a pretty recent computer with really correct screen resolution. Version AS3 3.1.2 was released on 28th March 2009.

The FFilmation Engine is an AS3 isometric programing engine, focused mainly on game development. The aim of the project is providing a robust development platform, where game designers can work on the game’s details and forget about the render engine. It is intended to be really usable from a “real production scenario” point of view. The engine is open-source, and released under the MIT license.

FFilmation is developed by Jordi Ministral, the co-owner of a small multimedia production studio in Barcelona, Spain. Version 1.3.3. was released on march 13, 2009. A FFilmation editor is also available. In september 2009, the developer announced on his blog that FFilmation is progressing quietly.

The following Flash 3D projects are listed mainly for historical reasons :

WireEngine3D (we3d)

WireEngine3D is a lightweight and fast 3D Engine for Flash 8/9. The latest version: 3.5.1 was released on 9th april 2008. With the WireEngine it is very easy to animate 3D objects in the 3D world.

3D Engine for Flash MX2004

The OpenSource 3D Engine for Flash MX 2004 allows to create 3D applications using the builtin DataCube object and put  data as dynamic 3D Models into a virtual universe.


3DFS is a 3D engine written in ActionScript 2 compatible with Flash Player 7.0 or more. It offers exact visible surface determination even for intersecting or overlapping geometry.

Electric 3D

The Electric 3D Flash engine is used internally by Electric Oyster, an interactive design, development and consulting company, when they develop 3D projects for their clients.

Jiglibflash now also supports Five3D