After reading a number of articles(and trying it out myself), I am convinced that the old Xbox 360 Kinect sensor can easily be used as a 3D scanner in the classroom. These are available on Trademe (NZ version of ebay) for under $20 or some of your students might have one lying around when they upgraded to the Xbox one. You will also need a power adapter made specially for the sensor which looks like this
Click here for Power Adapter link on Ebay
You will need the following downloads:
Kinect Developer Tool Kit v 1.8.0 (or 2.0 depending on which one is accepted by your computer. Mine was v1.8)
Kinect SDK v1.8
Kinect Runtime v1.8
Microsoft Speech Platform SDK v11 (for speech enabled apps)
By default, the newest version is where Microsoft will take you ( for Developer kit download) so if that version does not work, you will need to look for the version before it, which is v1.8 (which worked for me).
Hardware requirements: I am running a fairly good spec computer as I use it for my HTC Vive work. (Intel Xeon E5 @3.60GHz, 8GB Ram, 64bit Windows, 250GB HDD, GTX 1070) But the scanner should run on a lower spec graphics card. I would recommend a good graphics card as Skanect ( below) records at a high frame rate, plus any Blender and Unity rendering will need a good GPU.
Once downloaded, install all software before plugging in your Kinect sensor. Sometimes it takes a while for all the drivers to be installed. In your device manager, it may only show Kinect USB audio. There is a bit of tinkering to be done here. Don’t give up if it doesn’t work. Just Google the issue and plenty of forum discussions will pop up.
Plug the sensor in. The green light should start blinking. Open Developer Toolkit Browser for Kinect and Kinect Studio. In the Toolkit browser you will see a range of different pre-made programs that you can run. Kinect studio is the background app that will run enabling the Kinect. There are some cool games made which you can download and run. Eventually, I will look for a way to export data into Unity using the Kinect for Unity package, but I haven’t explored into that just yet.
Using it as a Scanner with paid software:
This is the best part. I use Skanect (Watch a quick video here ) Skanect is a neat tool for making 3D scans and exporting them as STL files ready for 3D printing. Alternatively, you can export as OBJ for your favorite editing program like Blender or Unity. The free version is still remarkably good. Limitations include upto 5000 geometric sides in a scan which is plenty if students are making busts of themselves or scanning an object in class. I tried the free version for a while, but got the full version eventually as it was free with the Occipital Structure sensor for iPad.
There are lots of forums on this project. However, official support for the Kinect sensor project has ended I believe. But there are plenty of DIY enthusiasts all over the world who will assist in this project.
If you are getting serious about 3D scanning and want to move to the next step, I suggest Structure sensor for the iPad which works well with Skanect software (you get a full version for free with the device). Currently, at Victoria, one of the lecturers is creating a workflow for teachers which when you scan on the iPad, it will export the model into Unity for editing with your game project. I will share the workflow once I get hold of it. Until then, let me know if you have any doubts / queries. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org