27 Aug 2015 16:05 IST

App to turn phone into 3D scanner

Most mobiles are capable of running the app

An app enables you to create 3D scans in seconds with your smartphone good enough for a 3D printer or to be used in video games.

The MobileFusion app, developed by Microsoft Research, does not even require any extra hardware or internet connection, Tech Times reported.

“Everything happens on the phone itself,” said Pushmeet Kohli, a principal research scientist with Microsoft Research.

The results are images detailed enough for a 3D printer or for instant sharing on social media.

“What this system effectively allows us to do is to take something similar to a picture, but it is a full 3D object,” Peter Ondruska from Oxford University, was quoted as saying.

Live camera data

The way it works is simple. Open the app and point and shoot using a standard smartphone camera, as if you are taking a picture.

The MobileFusion system densely tracks the device in 3D by comparing the live camera data with the previous frames.

It will then take the current live frame and perform efficient stereo matching to generate a depth map.

The stereo depth maps are then merged into a single 3D mesh model.

The 3D model is instantaneously captured on the user’s cell phone, with the system refining it as it is being built, all in a matter of seconds.

Release uncertain

The app isn’t yet available for public use although developers have confirmed that they are working to make it available on all major mobile platforms including iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile.

The researchers will present MobileFusion in early October at the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality.