Mobile Fusion the smartphone becomes a 3D scanner

Microsoft Research has announced an exciting new investigate project involving the use of a usual smartphone to create the 3D scanning of objects in real time. Mobile Fusion developed in collaboration with Oxford University does not require devoted hardware but only app compatible with Windows Phone iOS and Android.

Today are sold several 3D scanners that allow creating three-dimensional models of substance but they are niche products as quite luxurious and not available to everyone in terms of ease of use. The smartphone is a device rather widespread and the majority of the models on the market have an enough processing power to perform real-time scanning using the rear camera. Mobile Fusion does not require an Internet connection or exact components such as those embedded in Device Project Tango Google.

3D scanner

In the demonstration video it was used an iPhone 5S to create the 3D model of a person and of various objects moving the smartphone around them. The quality of the result is not very high but still good enough for 3D printing or games in augmented reality. Researchers envision a tourist who scans a monument such as the Eiffel Tower which is then shared with friends and relatives. A user could instead create a 3D model of an object to sell online which will be published on the site instead of a usual image.

The algorithm developed by Microsoft Research and Oxford University allows the camera to function as a 3D scanner combining multiple images taken from dissimilar angles. Currently, the goal is to make Mobile Fusion well-matched with all mobile devices. However, it is too early to set up any public availability.