The TV Series: EPISODE ONE
Imagine sending three dimensional objects down a normal telephone line. High-tech fantasy? Not any more - scientists at Stanford University, in the USA have developed the world's first 3D fax machine, capable of capturing three dimensional objects using laser range-scanners, and sending the data across normal phonelines to a receiver, where the object is re-created using lasers and fibre-glass resin. The faxed object looks, feels and weighs much the same as the original. The advantages are obvious for specialists in industrial design and medicine, where protogypes can be sent across the country at the press of a button, but a not-so obvious application is the archiving of museum sculptures, so that the next time someone takes an axe to Michelangelo's "Pieta", there is a 3D database from which one can restore the original. We interview Brian Curless, one of the PhD researchers on the project.