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I would use a kinect but that's too cumbersome. I want to ditch the camera and the microphones leaving me with the "3d sensor" but what is this mystery sensor even made of? I would use some sort of radar depth detection but that's too finite, I want to view objects more like a camera would with the additional sense of distance. Is this possible?

** EDIT **

Too add a bit more clarity: What I want is a "3d camera" but I don't know what technology is out there for my using. The closest thing I can think of is what Passerby mentioned as the kinect camera: "The depth sensor consists of an infraredlaser projector combined with a monochromeCMOS sensor, which captures video data in 3D under any ambient light conditions."

My target project is to be able to walk around a room with this "3d camera" and have it collect data about the room which I can then use to create a 3d blueprint in .obj form. Color is irrelevant for the first phase of the project.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The question is too vague. You don't seem to really know what you want yourself. I think there are sort of two questions lurking in there. One is what type of electronics (or, really, sensors) can provide information about distance to objects and what are some good ways to visualize this information. One thing I would like to point out is that it is not clear if you want to have resolution in three dimensions or two (or 1, like radar, which only provides range information). I suspect this question will get closed if you don't try to make it more specific. \$\endgroup\$ – mkeith Feb 8 '15 at 0:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Wiki. The depth sensor consists of an infraredlaser projector combined with a monochromeCMOS sensor, which captures video data in 3D under any ambient light conditions. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Feb 8 '15 at 2:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, what ranges are you interested in (near to far), and how much range resolution do you need? Oh yes, and when you say "like a camera", just exactly how many discrete range cells do you need, and over what angle/FOV? \$\endgroup\$ – WhatRoughBeast Feb 8 '15 at 3:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I edited my question based on all three of your comments \$\endgroup\$ – Jacksonkr Feb 8 '15 at 6:18
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What you ask for is a bit unrealistic (tricorder comes to mind). There are 3D room laser scanners but you can't walk around with them (while they work) because the data they'd record would be crap. Here's a video of how one works; the automated scanning is in the 2nd half. Also you need the room to be mostly empty so the laser can see all points of interest. The more expensive ones come with positioning sensors (GPS I presume) and software that merges/stitches together the scans done from multiple vantage points into a single model (advert example); the latter problem is basically a computer vision problem.

There are some arduino-based protects for making 3D laser scanners, although the ones I found, e.g. this are for scanners spinning around an object. I also found a hacked Kinect doing the same So it's basically possible, but you may need to adapt that for room scanning. Don't expect accuracy on the level of the commercial scanners, but I suspect they'd work reasonably well in a room.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would give you more votes if I could. I think I'm going to go with the kinect and start a bit rudimentary for now. Thanks for the good advice! \$\endgroup\$ – Jacksonkr Feb 28 '15 at 19:15

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