Microsoft Researchers Build 3D Scanners From Iphone

Smartphones are mobile 3D scanners although no world novelty, but most need a network connection to a server. Project of mobile fusion at Microsoft research is different.

The Research Division of Microsoft has almost ten years experience with the technique of photo series 3D models to calculate. Starting in the year 2006 with the Photosynth software, which condensed a series of images of a scene to the 3D model and Hyperlapse names yet long not ending with the tool, the smooth videos time-lapse movies, also calculated with the help of the reconstructed 3D space. Because the Microsoft researchers Peter Ondrúška, Pushmeet Kohli, Shahram Izadi have their project

MobileFusion a standard iPhone into a 3D scanner for on the road turns, working according to the classic method of Photogrammetry.

Although neither Photogrammetry technique nor use of a Smartphone as a platform for something fundamentally new: the free app 123D catch from Autodesk works for years according to this principle, albeit with a limited number of pictures. The app Aquilaviz by the ETH Zurich, which was seen in the spring at CeBIT in Hannover in action, however, promises higher quality results. However, both tools share the phone supplies alone still not a complete 3D model, but on a server transfers the collected data once, then performing the complex calculations.

Completely autonomously

It’s different at MobileFusion: the prototype from Microsoft research done the Smartphone all calculations with Board funds – that makes for example then pays for itself when you on the road without a data connection and virtually as a souvenir to take home an object. Also MobileFusion will preview the user directly on the display, which already provided enough data areas of the template to be scanned and which better again take in the sights. No point clouds like many other scan tools, the results are usual but 3D models with closed and colored textured surfaces, which materialize in the ideal case directly on a 3D printer to let.

Researchers at Microsoft are their work at the Conference of IEEE ISMAR 2015 (International Symposium on mixed and augmented reality) present, which takes place from September 29 to October 3 in Fukuoka. Try out yourself you can’t MobileFusion unfortunately still, but the researchers are currently working to install their software on other mobile platforms such as Windows phone and Android. Pushmeet Kohli and Shahram Izadi were involved in the development of KinectFusion of software, which makes a 3D scanner from a Windows Kinect already. On their new project like them especially, that many people on the road already constantly carrying the complete necessary hardware for 3D scans with your mobile phone.


Other manufacturers want to expand also mobile devices to portable 3D scanners, but also onto hardware: who wants to take part in Google’s project called Tango, requires a special Android tablet with built-in 3D camera. Matter and form, however, wants to expand a plug-in line laser phones, with the keying off objects by using the light cut method. The Crowdfunding campaign that is soon to end, the project has exceeded its funding target loose.

  • Vorläufiges paper as PDF: Peter Ondrúška, Pushmeet Kohli, Shahram Izadi: MobileFusion: real-time volumetric surface reconstruction and dense tracking on mobile phones; appears in: IEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics.