3D technology is certainly all the rage nowadays. Depicted in the video above is a new product from a company called Matterport, and depicts a handheld scanner that’s capable of creating 3D models of objects or rooms in just a few minutes. All of you avid first-person-shooter fans who love creating realistic maps for your buddies to play on should sit up and take notice as this device could make your lives a lot easier.
Currently in development, Matterport’s 3D mapping device looks remarkably similar to the wildly popular Kinect peripheral from Microsoft. In fact, the company used a Kinect during the prototype stages. It’s interesting to note that the visual aspect isn’t the only thing the handheld device has in common with the Kinect as it captures 3D content in much the same way as well.
The Microsoft peripheral makes use of two 3D depth sensors and an RGB camera to create a multi-dimensional rendering of a room. From the different demonstration videos above and below, it looks like Matterport’s device works in a similar fashion; creating a 3D wireframe then adding captured textures on the fly. While the process may be the same, it’s the speed in which Matterport’s device and software achieves the end result that’s of interest in this case.
Matterport is entering into a market that already has several strong entries when it comes to 3D scanning. Companies like Z Corp and NextEngine both have devices that do the same thing for an average cost of around $3,000. What makes the small startup’s device stand out is the fact that it can output scans almost instantly, and for a much lower cost.
While pricing hasn’t been set, one of the co-founders was quoted to say that his company’s device would be retailing at a price “eighteen times cheaper” than its direct competitors. While I think that’s a bit generous, it’s not out of the realms of possibility to see it release at a sub-$500 price point.
There’s no word yet as to when Matterport will be releasing its scanner, but the possibilities it presents are exciting. Besides being able to scan your surroundings, you could take a 3D scan of of a piece of malfunctioning equipment for a specialist to look at, or create your own how-to manuals for various projects. The sky is literally the limit with this device.
Of course, there is some trade-off between price and quality, but from the demo images we have seen, the reduction in quality isn’t a show-stopper.
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