Company brings 3D scanning to mobile devices


Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed an app that can effectively turn a smartphone into a scanning device to produce 3D models of real world objects. The application uses a smartphone’s camera to capture an image of an object and produces a 3D model on the fly using a smartphone’s internal capabilities instead of offloading the data to a computer for later compilation. Users start by capturing an image of the object they want to model. As a user continues to capture images, moving the smartphone around an object, the app continues to capture data points. Using a smartphone’s GPU, the app is able to start building a 3D model in real-time and a user can watch development of the model if they want. The level of detail is dependent on how long a user is willing to continue to scan an object.

In a video showing how the app works, ETH Zurich demonstrates the building of 3D models of artwork, small items, and even human heads and faces. As they note, the resulting model could be used in conjunction with a 3D printer to replicate an object. Of course, I’m thinking Mission Impossible type mask production. More practically, it could be used to study an object at a later time, say for students who visit an art museum and later need to prepare a report.

You can check out the video below to see how the app works. Unfortunately, ETH Zurich has not released the app to the public yet. What could you accomplish with an app like this?

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source: Gigaom

About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a chief financial officer and licensed CPA in Durham, North Carolina. Jeff has owned an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, and an LG G3 along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition and a Nexus 7 (2013). Recently Jeff added Google Glass to his stable of tech gadgets. Unfortunately, his wife and kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active in his church, a local MINI Cooper car club, and his daughter's soccer club. Jeff is married, has three kids, and a golden retriever.