Thanks to AMD and Matterport my house is now up on the web in 3D. You can navigate it in all its glory and I can go back at any time and think about how we should have spent an additional day straightening things up. This is amazingly cool technology and it is designed to be used by estate agents to showcase the properties they are selling or renting, and it likely could be used for large boats, ships, jets or anything else you wanted to showcase that you might otherwise have to visit in person.
Clearly you’d couple this with exterior shots and I can think of a number of improvements to the technology but let’s check it out.
Here is the link to my house, but note that it takes a few minutes to fully load and you start just inside my front door. Navigating it is a bit of a challenge, it unfortunately doesn’t work like a video game. Use the cursor arrows at the bottom right to do most of your navigating and if the mouse isn’t doing what you want click it to change functions. Basically the mouse has two modes, a grab mode and a navigate mode - in one the scene moves with the mouse, in the other the mouse moves but the scene doesn’t. It takes a bit of getting used to.
But as you walk through the place, you’ll notice it is a bit more cluttered than I’d like, but you’ll see clarity in line with actually being in the house. It is kind of a shame we didn’t scan either the dog’s room or the guest room but you’ll get a sense of how we have modified and furnished it, and you’ll likely see more things than if you were actually there because you aren’t being guided by an estate agent, and you can take all of the time you want.
Matterport is in AMD’s Venture program and they use AMD’s processor and graphics technology to render and present the 3D models that the camera captures. The Camera is a specialised high resolution camera with the ability to capture and focus on objects both near and far automatically, and it sits on a motorised tripod which is moved around inside the building or object being scanned. The back end process then stitches together the various scans and once rendered you navigate from camera scan site to camera scan site as you move through the building. It took several hours to do the scan but you can see from the result that if you needed this for an insurance claim (fire or burglary) or for a real estate project the result is pretty compelling.
Looking to the future
In future generations of this offering I’d expect an option to navigate this more like you’d navigate a 3D game so that folks like me who grew up in games could get around more easily. I’d expect a scan of the outside of the house as well to showcase the yard, decks, driveways and exterior views of the home in the same application. In effect the experience I’d expect to see in the future is one where you virtually walk up to, around, and then inside the home to get the full effect, and I can picture a future camera that also captures the directional sounds to make the experience more realistic and to anticipate a 3D viewer like Oculus Rift. And once they work out smells I’d package it with the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I guess you can now tell I’m writing this just before lunch.
Making the real virtual
Most of the houses I remember fondly that I grew up in no longer exist and the homes I’ve owned have changed a lot since I lived there. I can see technology like this being used not just to sell stuff but to capture memories so your kids can go back to their rooms the way they were in better times, and we can revisit and refresh fading memories over time of places where some of our most meaningful life events have occurred.
Making this so you can do it yourself is likely where technologies like Matterport are going, but your memories won’t wait so if you want to save that memory now, or open your house to a larger group of eager buyers, check this out. Oh and if you are interested in our house we plan to sell it in about a year pretty much furnished the way it is, but you’ll likely have to visit in person if you want to see the secret room.