Camera chip captures hi-res 3D

3d pennyIn that picture: a penny, captured with micrometer-resolution from about 1.5 feet, with the height variations recorded as 3D data.

Researchers at the California Institute Of Technology say you might someday “pull your smartphone out of your pocket, take a snapshot with its integrated 3D imager, send it to your 3D printer, and within minutes you have reproduced a replica accurate to within microns of the original object.”

CalTech says its “new imaging technology fits on a tiny chip and, from a distance, can form a high-resolution three-dimensional image of an object on the scale of micrometers.”

The “nanophotonic coherent imager” uses an inexpensive silicon chip less than a millimeter square in size, with LIDAR capabilities with which a target object is illuminated with scanning laser beams. The light that reflects off of the object is then analyzed based on the wavelength of the laser light used, and the LIDAR can gather information about the object’s size and its distance from the laser to create an image of its surroundings. “In a regular camera, each pixel represents the intensity of the light received from a specific point in the image, which could be near or far from the camera–meaning that the pixels provide no information about the relative distance of the object from the camera,” the university adds. “In contrast, each pixel in an image created by the Caltech team’s NCI provides both the distance and intensity information. Each pixel on the chip is an independent interferometer (an instrument that uses the interference of light waves to make precise measurements) which detects the phase and frequency of the signal in addition to the intensity.”

The full article is here.

Drones photograph buildings for making 3D-printed models


3D printing is big. 3D scanning — taking multiple photos to produce 3D geometry — is big. And hey, of course aerial drone photography is big.

So how big is a new combination of these three types of tech?

SkyeCam Productions says it uses aerial photos to create a 3d model of your home. They capture several hundred high-resolution aerial shots, which are stitched and rendered together for “a full 3D representation that can then be sent through our 3D printer.” The dual-extruder prints two colors at once, and model houses can be built up to 9x6x6 inches — or “even bigger by printing parts and gluing them together.”

The result is “a custom and innovative way to showcase your home… A 3D printed representation is an accurate portrayal that you can hold and cherish for years to come.”

The Baltimore-based company says its drones have independently stabilized cameras, and “are more efficient and significantly less expensive than helicopter-based aerial photographers, and we can vary our altitude as low as four feet to as high as 1000+ feet. Most of the time, when taking aerial photos of a house, we only need to fly at 100 to 200 feet, an altitude where helicopters can’t even fly safely.” The company says it’s used drones for “photographing properties from angles that are physically impossible to achieve with ground-based photography, capturing entire landscapes in one aerial photograph, and even surveying the roofs of houses.”

There’s more information here.

Samsung: 16 simultaneous sensors capture a gigapixel of 3D

cnet samsung beyond cam

At a developer conference, Samsung debuted a virtual reality-capturing camera

“Project Beyond” will take 3D footage for use with the company’s Gear VR headset. The puck-sized gadget has 16 high-definition cameras, and captures a gigapixel per second. Samsung says it uses “stereoscopic interleaved capture and 3D-aware stitching technology to capture the scene just like the human eye, but in a form factor that is extremely compact.”

Samsung adds that the system is not yet a product, but they are showing “the first operational version of the device, and just a taste of what the final system we are working on will be capable of.”

There’s a demonstration video here.

CNet and TechCrunch have more.



HP unveils 3D printing and immersive computing

While 3D viewing (stereoscopic imaging that emulates our eyesight and 3D printing (an inkjet-like manufacturing process) really mean very different things, HP rolled out new products in each arena simultaneously as part of its new “Blended Reality ecosystem.”

The HP Multi Jet Fusion hardware “delivers on the potential of 3D printing,” and the Sprout “immersive computing platform” redefines the PC user experience “and creates a foundation for future immersive technologies,” the company says. “We are on the cusp of a transformative era in computing and printing…  enabling us to express ourselves at the speed of thought — without filters, without limitations.”

hp multijet 3d printer

The Multi Jet Fusion provides better quality, increased productivity, and break-through economics as compared to existing solutions, HP claims, with a “synchronous architecture that significantly improves the commercial viability of 3D printing and has the potential to change the way we think about manufacturing.” It’s 10-times faster, and the proprietary multi-agent printing process utilizing HP Thermal Inkjet arrays simultaneously apply multiple liquid agents to produce best-in-class quality that combines greater accuracy, resiliency and uniform part strength in all three axis directions, HP adds.

Of, HP “has been an industry leader in 2D printing for 30 years,” the company notes, and “Now, we are bringing our expertise to bear in 3D printing, leveraging all of our investments and intellectual property to develop tools that can enable the next industrial revolution.”

Sprout “Reimagines computing”


Yes, Sprout is a funky name for a desktop all-in-one Windows 8 PC. But HP says it “combines the power of an advanced desktop computer with an immersive, natural user interface to create a new computing experience.” It has a scanner, depth sensor, and a projector in a single device, to let you “take physical items and seamlessly merge them into a digital workspace,” as “people have always created with their hands.” The “Illuminator” projection system scans and captures real-world objects in 3D, allowing the user to immediately interact and create: there’s a 23-inch LCD primary display up top, and 20-inch capacitive pad on the bottom, under the camera and projector.

There a demo of the system in use here.

It’s sells for $1889 here.


Objects in photos transform into movable 3D

photo to 3d CU

A new imaging technique will let you select an item in a photo — from a small chair to a large taxi — convert it into 3D, and reposition it in the original image as desired.

Developed at Carnegie Mellon and the University of California, the technique taps into libraries of stock 3D models. You simply alter the model to better fit the image, and then viola!: more photo manipulation than you otherwise thought possible.

“We present a method that enables users to perform the full range of 3D manipulations, including scaling, rotation, translation, and nonrigid deformations, to an object in a photograph,” the researchers say. Also, “as 3D manipulations often reveal parts of the object that are hidden in the original photograph, our approach uses publicly available 3D models to guide the completion of the geometry and appearance of the revealed areas of the object.”

You can read more here, or watch a video demonstration and explanation here.

photo to 3d