Sunday, June 17, 2012

Spotlight on Technology: Digitize an Entire Scene

To use the 3DWeb effectively, it helps to immerse users in a scene that seems real to them -- something that they can relate to easily. It takes someone with a special eye and skills to create scenes that truly draw you out of your world, and into the 3D world on your screen. And even if you have someone with those talents, it can often take weeks or months to create the scene that you are looking for.
Now imagine that you own an industrial plant, and would like to give a tour of your facility to prospective clients or investors -- many of whom may be scattered across the country or around the world. A 3D online tour would be ideal, but again something like this can take a long time to develop and set up.
Now, consider this: Wouldn't it be great if you could just wave a device around a room, and have it take a "picture" of everything... except that it would automatically create 3D models of everything in the room, which you could then upload into the 3DWeb and set up in a relatively short time?
That's the idea behind a scanning device being developed by a Silicon Valley startup company named MatterPort.   While it's not the first of its kind, the claim is that this device, once in production, will be 20 times faster and 18 times cheaper than other 3D scanners on the market.
The video clip above gives a brief demonstration of how the device should work. The prototype is based on Kinect technology, but few technical details beyond this are available at this time.  I was also unable to find a timeline for when the product is expected to be released.  Matterport unveiled their product on March 27 at the 2012 Y Combinator Demo Day in Mountain View, California, and they are now in early beta testing with selected companies.
It sounds as if this device may not reach the exact precision of much more expensive 3D scanners, but it may be reasonable enough for most purposes. If affordable technology such as this can produce 3D renderings which can then be brought into a 3DWeb platform such as SpotON3D, this will greatly simplify the set up of scenes which have the potential to truly amaze your customers, clients, and others.

For more information on this scanner, please visit the Matterport Web site at You can also check out an article on the scanner at
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