When it comes to the task of creating 3D images of interiors, complete with furniture and a myriad of colors and textures, the job until now has been highly labor intensive. Now, a new system called Matterport is doing that same job in only a matter of minutes, and making it almost as easy as using a point and shoot camera. The devise, based closely on the Xbox Kinect (in fact the prototype was literally this), uses twin lenses on a hand held unit which connects to a laptop. By simply walking around the room and “painting it,” a mass of depth and color information is collected and interpreted into a 3D environment.
This technology has huge implications for our future and how we capture information and memories of the world around us. While near 3D environments like Google Street View are now becoming commonplace, the actual explore-ability of such worlds is strictly limited to a 360°, panoramic view from the street… not to mention the facade like buildings which you cannot enter. This technology could change all that, providing us with both indoor and outdoor environments to virtually travel, from sidewalks in London, to shops in Bangalore, or maybe even a long (but highly relaxing) hike into the Grand Canyon.
Now imagine if this technology was moved into a cell phone or Googles soon to be released Project Glass: users around the world could collect data on the places they explore, uploading it to the web and patching it into a 3D world database. Of course, the privacy issues here would be almost as astounding as the technology, giving people access to each others lives and maybe even homes, in ways we have never seen before. With this technology sure to come, it is only a matter of time before we must both adapt to it, and enjoy it. For now, check out the great video on Matterport below, then head to their website to find out more.