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Microsoft Wants to Turn Your Phone Into a 3D Scanner

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A smartphone with the Eura 3D camera accessory attached.

A number of companies are working on ways to help standard smartphones act as three-dimensional cameras.

Credit: Eora 3D

Microsoft is one of several technology companies that are developing ways to turn the typical smartphone into a three-dimensional (3D) camera.

Microsoft researchers are working on a smartphone app called MobileFusion, which would create 3D models based on two-dimensional (2D) pictures taken with a phone's built-in camera that could be printed using a 3D printer. MobileFusion would enable users to take multiple pictures of a famous landmark, such as the Eiffel Tower, and then use the app to create and print a 3D model based on the pictures.

Google also is approaching 3D imaging with its Project Tango, which is geared more toward improving navigation. Although the technology is not available to the public yet, Google opened the project to developers last year and is partnering with Intel to bring 3D cameras to smartphones.

Meanwhile, Australian startup Eura 3D is developing an accessory that would turn any smartphone into a 3D camera in the form of a tripod with a build-in laser that would add depth to pictures taken using the smartphone.

Autodesk is taking a cloud-based approach with its 123D Catch app, which is available now. The app uploads 2D images to the cloud where they are stitched together into a 3D model.

From Wired
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