Everyone who has watched Star Trek knows what a replicator is. In this video you can see a report from National Geographic about the Z Corp company and how they can replicate objects with laser scanners and 3D printers.
Maybe you have just scanned an object and want to print it on a 3D printer. The model has to be water-tight and most 3D programs don’t have “the right tools” to heal 3D meshes easily. In this tutorial from Shapeways you can learn how to use the open source 3D software Meshlab and the German 3D program netfabb to fix a mesh before 3D printing it. Both software packages work perfectly under Linux OS.
By projecting a light pattern onto a physical object’s surface and analysing the resulting image it is possible to create a 3D structure of the target object. Tools for calculating structure light scanning is what the project Structured Light is developing under the new BSD License. You can check out the project’s homepage and download some stuff from there.