Developers at ETH Zurich have created an as-yet-unnamed app for 3D scanning using only a mobile phone. The team claims that their app makes scanning a three-dimensional object almost as easy as taking a normal smartphone photo.
From the official announcement:
The app also makes it possible to visualize the state of the 3D scan from different viewing angles, allowing the user to cover all the areas of the object he is interested in. Having a solution on a mobile phone enables the acquisition of 3D scans on-the-fly anywhere. The approach works in a wide variety of settings, including low-light conditions such as inside a museum. A user can capture a 3D model of a museum piece and interactively study it at home later. After reviewing the model, a user might decide to upload his 3D data to a cloud service to further refine the results.
By using the inertial sensors of the phone, the scanning process can be made simple, intuitive and robust. After the 3D capture is started, the system automatically determines the correct moments to extract camera images based on the user motion. “Only two years ago, such a software only run on massive computers. We were able to shrink processes down on smartphone level and make them highly efficient”, says Marc Pollefeys.
The app feels reminiscent of Sceen, a 3D imaging app for iOS we looked at a couple months ago. The technology announced by ETH Zurich seems to focus on more detailed capturing with an emphasis on technical applications rather than social networking, but the concept remains the same.
Another example of smartphone 3D imaging can be found from Occipital — the company that raised $1,290,439 on Kickstarter for a 3D sensor for iPad. Unlike Occipital's mobile 3D imaging technology, the new app from ETH Zurich aims to produce a digital 3D model, but without any extra hardware cost.
Currently awaiting patent approval, ETH Zurich has not revealed any details about a release date for the app. Though based on the promotional materials, we can see that it currently works on Android.
Watch the video below to see the 3D scanning app in action. (Warning: art nudity.)