October 2, 2019

Matterport announces 3D capture and smart measurement for smartphones using AI

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Matterport is a household name in 3D capture, known for their accessible and precise scans presented in an interactive “dollhouse” view. Matterport has made major moves in democratizing 3D scanning by enabling almost anyone to create, edit and share digital twins of built spaces in an immersive virtual tour format. The relatively low-cost systems can be useful for anyone from insurance companies to construction, and have helped to broaden the use cases for 3D capture.

Last week, Matterport made a major announcement taking the democratization of their technology even further. In a demonstration at an invitation-only event, Matterport showed off their ability to turn consumer smartphones into 3D capture devices without the need for any additional hardware.

Matterport plans to use their cloud-based imaging processing software and AI engine, Cortex, to create 3D experiences from standard smartphone camera captures. Cortex makes it possible to turn 2D panoramic images captured with smartphone cameras into 3D, allowing iPhones and Android devices to become 3D capture devices. While it isn’t available just yet – the first iPhone version is expected to be available for beta testing by the end of 2019.

The below video is an example scan of a garage and cars, captured with a hand-held device.

Matterport already supports a vast array of cameras, including Matterport’s own Pro2 camera with a 3D sensor, and the Leica BLK 360. Matterport also announced its integration with select 360 cameras this year, including the Ricoh Theta V, Ricoh Theta Z1 and Insta360 ONE X. For cameras that do not have embedded 3D scanning capabilities, including most 360 cameras and smartphones, Matterport applies the Cortex AI engine to transform captured 2D images into 3D digital twins. Matterport’s goal is to create a full 3D representation of a space no matter what camera device is used – which truly puts a 3D scanner in every pocket.

The AI engine was trained using a massive dataset of Matterport scans, including billions of 3D data points that are used to construct 3D digital twins from 2D images. As a result, Cortex is able to apply a “three-dimensional intelligence” that can understand rooms, objects within rooms, and the details of any physical space.

Matterport CEO RJ Pittman says that the new technology will help them to achieve their company’s goal of capturing the entire built world in 3D.

“Creating a 3D solution compatible with smartphones is a huge step towards reaching that goal, allowing the broader community of billions of iPhone and Android users to access the capabilities of our technology.”

Perhaps even more exciting is an additional feature that should be of particular interest to engineers, construction firms, insurance and restoration professionals, renovation and historic preservationists and remodelers. Users can now interactively and automatically measure and share the dimensions of any feature. This includes objects within the space but also things as large as floor plans, doorways, windows and walls.

Using a combination of computer vision and AI, Matterport is capable of segmenting and identifying rooms within a space, providing dimensions in all axis, and calculating area and volumetric-related information.

The uses for these quick measurements could include allowing contractors or insurance adjustors to quickly document dimensions of a space or even helping consumers to determine the fit and placement of furniture in their homes. The resulting spatial data, including the label and measurements, will be available on the Matterport Cloud in the detail page of every space. The dimensions can be viewed in the Matterport Showcase app, and can also be made available for download via an API.

There is a planned developer program and updated software development kit (SDK) for Showcase that incorporates the new features, extending the functionality of their existing APIs. The goal of these access points is to provide partners with the ability to build Matterport-powered applications, develop services, and integrate with workflows specific to any industry where the tools could be applied.

The APIs and Showcase SDK are targeted for all verticals that Matterport currently serves – including residential and commercial real estate; architecture, engineering and construction (AEC); restoration and insurance; and travel and hospitality – and all upcoming verticals and services. Their development is an accelerator for market dominance spanning industries where interactive 3D digital twins could be applied to replace manual measurement, documentation and sharing processes.

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