3D scanning could completely change the way we see the world, improve robotic vision, and lead to a whole new 3D printing revolution. While there’s a lot of promise in 3D scanning, the technology still requires specialized equipment that only labs have or is otherwise too expensive. Marc Pollefeys, professor at the The Computer vision and geometry Lab of theSwiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and his group aim to change that by creating a smartphone app that enables any device to 3D scan like a pro. The software works with existing smartphone technology that allows users to scan a 3D model almost as easily as taking a photograph.

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The technology made its first public appearance at the International Conference on Computer Vision in Sydney, Australia. To take the 3D scan-o-gram the user simply moves their camera phone around the object to create a 3D model. It’s a bit like taking a panorama, or for you Android users a photo sphere, in that it combines multiple images to create a multi-dimensional image. The app does this by combining the images with data from the phone’s gyroscope and accelerometer sensors to create a complete 3D model inside of your device.

The researchers believe that their technology could be used for creating 3D scans on-the-fly anywhere, including low-light conditions such as inside a museum. On top of capturing 3D objects, the app is also able to determine the absolute size of the scanned object. The technology could allow 3D captured faces, giving the third dimension treatment to portraits and profile pictures

Much like the Makerbot Digitizer and 3D Systems Sense we’ve seen, the experimental app could give us another convenient way of getting 3D models of everyday objects. Users would be able to copy real world objects and bring them into a virtual reality or replicate them on a 3D printer.

+ Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich

Via PhysOrg

Images © Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich