Mobile Fusion App turns your smartphone into 3D Scanner from The Microsoft Research Lab

mobile fusion microsoft research project
Microsoft has been really busy lately, and now it has shown one of the things it has been working on -- a 3D scanner inside a regular smartphone. The app, called MobileFusion, turns your average smartphone camera into a high-tech 3D scanner, allowing you to scan objects and turn them into 3D models for viewing, sharing and 3D printing, right in front of your very eyes. 

The application uses a smartphone's hardware and RGB camera to take 3D scans (an accessible way for most consumers to collect 3D images). Microsoft in its early efforts produced similar systems( The Kinect Fusion 3D scanner and MonoFusion 3D webcam scanner) but those systems aren't very mobile and are require specifically designed hardware. MobileFusion is unique since it doesn't require cloud processing, but instead produces a connected 3D model solely using a device's GPU and CPU at 25GHz for tracking and reconstruction. The computation happens purely on the phone and the final 3D models are detailed enough for 3D printing this means researchers can indirectly use it in a very efective manner for their reasrearch models as 3D printing has also been available. 
Taking a 3D scan involves pointing a smartphone's standard camera at an object and moving it in a circle until a 3D model has been produced.As per the project, they primarily used an iPhone 6 to demonstrate that a mobile phone could be used to generate 3D models(since the fact Windows Os runs best on Mac Pc's). Peter Ondruska, a PhD candidate at Oxford University who worked on MobileFusion during an internship at Microsoft Research, explained that the system tracks the device in 3D by comparing live 3D data with previous frames captured. It then uses a process known as 'stereo matching' to compute multiple depth maps, which are then merged into a 3D mesh model on the fly.

The Big Question with MobileFusion is that the researchers haven't decided whether to make it available to the general public. As of now the researchers are trying to ensure the system works with Windows Phone, iPhone and Android.
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