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Software Would Make 3D Maps ­sing Smartphones

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A project at the Universty of Minnesota would allow a user to hold up a smartphone and create indoor maps in three dimensions.

Researchers at the University of Minneapolis and Google have developed software that enables smartphones to create three-dimensional maps.

Credit: Marlin Levison/Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and Google have developed software that can create a three-dimensional (3D) map with a smartphone. The software enables the phone's camera and motion sensor to work together to create a grid of data points that become a 3D image.

The research is part of Google's Project Tango, a smartphone specifically optimized for 3D mapping. "We will soon be able to get smartphone directions for how to go from one place to another in a building, such as how to go from the entrance to my classroom," says University of Minnesota professor Stergios Roumeliotis.

The researchers say the software also could help the blind walk through a building or aid a drone aircraft's navigation systems.

Roumeliotis says one interesting aspect of the software is that it uses very little computing power. He says the software "has the potential to become the Google Maps of the indoor world, and this is where we spend most of our time."

From Columbus Dispatch
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