Microsoft's Research arm has given the world a sneak peek at its latest project: 3D-scanning using a regular mobile phone.
Through a new blog post and video, the team explained that the project will allow anybody to create high-quality 3D images in real time. Microsoft has basically figured out a way to turn the average smartphone's rear camera into a 3D scanner - no additional hardware required.
Here's everything we know about the project so far...
What is MobileFusion?
MobileFusion is the name of Microsoft Research's 3D-scanning project.
What's the point of MobileFusion?
With MobileFusion, you'll be able to create 3D models while on the go. You'll have the ability to grab your iPhone, for instance, then point the phone's rear camera at an object, and scan said object by moving your iPhone around it.
MobileFusion essentially compares RGB data within all the frames shot from different angles in order to build up a model in real time. All the work is done on the phone and doesn't require extra hardware or even an internet connection, meaning you could be deep in the woods and still manage to capture a 3D model of like a rock or something using just a regular smartphone without a Wi-Fi connection.
What can you do with a 3D model made from MobileFusion?
Microsoft Research said MobileFusion 3D scans are "high-quality enough to be used for things like 3D printing and augmented reality video games" - but if you watch the demo below, you'll see the scans are still rough at this point.
Is there a MobileFusion demo available?
Yes, there is - and you can watch it above. Microsoft Research used an iPhone 5S to scan and make 3D models of things like a teddy bear.
When will MobileFusion launch for everyone to use?
Microsoft's researchers are working to get MobileFusion available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices. There are no firm release plans yet, though they do want to make it available to the general public in "some form".