This revolutionary 3D scanner digitizes your limbs to make custom braces and casts

In a day and age in which everything is being made to order and to specific dimensions, it seems a bit silly that we haven’t really taken our own bodies into consideration. Our physical being, the most unique entity of all, is still attempting to shimmy into size 2 jeans (a practically useless indication of fit), fit into insoles that are branded small, medium, or large, and even use medical devices that don’t seem to conform all that well to our bodies. But now, all that is about to change — well, at least the last bit. A student-developed 3D hand scanner called the Curatio just may herald the beginning of a truly customized arm brace, and with a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, we may just be able to create things that, you know, fit.

As recent graduate Pieter Smakman explained in a guest post in Sparkisan, “body parts are still very hard to scan due to their agile nature.” Whereas static objects are relatively straightforward and simple, a human limb has many nuances that make them considerably more difficult to fully process and understand (from a machine’s point of view, that is). So to address this issue, Smakman “developed the first dedicated and low-cost 3D Hand Scanner.”

With Raspberry Pis, laser pointers, and a total of 32 cameras, Smakman claims that his scanner “is able to create a precise surface model of the hand,” which in turn “opens a new world of possibilities: think of 3D printed braces, personalized medical instruments, and a long-awaited tool for everyone who designs products that interact with the human hand.”

For now, this world is one that only exists in hypotheticals — Smakman’s design is one of a kind and has yet to be reproduced, much less made available to the general public. But if it ever does come to fruition, it’s sure to have a major impact on the way our hands (and the rest of our bodies) are able to interact with the world.