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MobileFusion turns your smartphone into a 3D scanner

Microsoft has been really busy lately, and now they have shown one of the things they have been working on – a 3D scanner inside a regular smartphone.

The app, called MobileFusion, turns your average smartphone camera into a high-tech 3D scanner, allowing you to scan objects and turn them into 3D models for viewing, sharing and 3D printing, right in front of your very eyes.

A promotional video was created to showcase the technology.

“This allows the user to capture a full 3D model of an arbitrary object in seconds. The computation happens purely on the phone and the final 3D models are detailed enough for 3D printing, use in augmented reality games and for instant 3D capture for sharing with friends and colleague,” it says in the video.

“Under the hood, the system first densely tracks the device in 3D by comparing the live RGB data with the previous frames. It will take the current live frame and perform efficient stereo-matching to compute a depth map. These stereo depth maps are then merged into a single 3D model.”

The software then creates the model right there, on the spot.

“The 3D model is built live in front of the user’s eyes, which allows user to instantaneously see how complete the scan is and whether the critical parts are missing. As the object is captured from all angles, the 3D model gets refined and completed. Once satisfied with the scan, the user can view, share or print the 3D model instantaneously. “

This research project can allow any mobile device to turn into a real-time 3D scanner.

The team says it hopes to introduce the software to the general public at some point but, at present, there is no release date scheduled.