Geo Week News

January 6, 2011

3D scanner for the iPhone (you knew it was coming)

Kinect? That’s yesterday’s scanner for the people. Today, it’s all about the iPhone. Fast Company turned me on to it. There’s a new app that is being billed as the “world’s first 3D scanner for iPhone,” and it actually works alright.


Here’s the YouTube pitch from Phlosoft, the app builder:


On first blush, not too shabby, right? Basically, you have to have an iPhone 4 with the camera on the front. You’ve got to be in a dark room. And you’ve got to turn the brightness way up so it illuminates your face in the proper way for the data capture. The result is a sweet little 3D image of your face (or whatever you happen to want to scan in the dark). 


What good is it? Um. Well. Probably not good for much, really, but pretty fun, and a neat proof of concept. As the guy in the Fast Company article notes, it probably won’t be too long before you can output this new 3D information in some kind of form that Shapeways or some other company could then turn into an actual 3D-printed object, which would be cool. 


Imagine if you could take a picture of some statue in a museum (maybe it would take a couple of pictures), email the 3D data to Shapeways, and have them mail a replica to you. That would pretty much be the end of the museum gift shop, no?


As it is, I like that app as a cocktail party toy for showing people what exactly it is I write about all day…

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