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That's Matterport's vision for the future of 3D modeling, and it extends beyond home renovation. From architecture and construction to real estate and crime scene visualization, the scope of 3D models is expanding and the hardware and software that allow us to map our physical world are getting cheaper, faster, and better. Matterport is hoping it can be not only the Nikon and Canon, but also the Adobe of the burgeoning industry, offering a professional-grade camera and a cloud-processing platform for making 3D modeling exponentially easier and accessible.
If you've heard the name Matterport recently, it was likely in association with Project Tango, the mobile 3D mapping venture out of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects division, the research arm of Motorola Mobility that Google absorbed into Android before selling Motorola to Lenovo, Matterport got its hand on a prototype and last month released one of the first 3D models using Tango, Matterport, however, is aiming for a more pro-grade, iphone case kohls less experimental market when it comes to its own breed of modeling..
On Thursday, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company -- created in 2011 and running on Y Combinator and VC funding amounting to $10 million -- launched its full platform suite, which includes the $4,500 Matterport Pro 3D camera alongside its subscription-based cloud service and Web player. Before that, an early-adopter program saw only a few dozen cameras get out into the wild to create more than 1,000 3D models. Matterport will sell the device and service directly, aiming primarily at contractors, real estate companies, and architects with the intention of drastically changing how those industries work with digital visualization.
"If you spend enough effort and time, you can make a model that looks like something we can make," said Matterport CEO Bill Brown in an interview with CNET, "You'll have spent $20,000 or $30,000, but you end up with something you can't distribute, You can give it to someone if they have a CAD package.", It's no coincidence that Brown was tapped by Matterport's three co-founders -- Reactrix founder Matt Bell, PayPal alum Dave Gausebeck, and former SRI 3D guru Mike Beebe -- to be CEO, Brown came from Motorola Mobility, where he was general manager of a division called "converged consumer products" during its time under Google's wing, and where Project Tango would later be hatched, The combined expertise of Brown and iphone case kohls Matterport's co-founders results in a highly focused effort that's more practical than flashy, and less intent on doing something radical -- like Tango -- than it is in tackling what the company thinks is a dormant technology ready for acceleration in select fields..
That's how Matterport was able to take the 3D modeling process and automate away the most tedious aspects of it. "In a matter of an hour, you can do something that takes two days for people to do now," Brown said. What exactly makes Matterport's camera that much of a leap? For one, it has the ability to capture geometric and texture data simultaneously, while offloading much of the intensive computing to combine that data to the cloud to be done after the fact. "It's shooting at 30 frames per second, so it's in essence taking a video as it spins," Brown explained.
With three sensors relaying information between 2D and 3D, the camera is able to take in a near-360 degree scope of the room in one motorized sweep that takes less than half a minute to complete, Combine anywhere from as little as four to six sweeps and as many as 15 to 20 of an iphone case kohls area and you have a detailed model that can be compressed down to an average file size of 50MB to 75MB, Even then, one can dig into the raw files of the sweeps and swap in stills, so that fuzzier portions of the model containing books on a shelf or a clock on the wall can suddenly have the fidelity of a hi-res photograph..
Even mirrors, which would have to show shifting reflections as someone moves through the 3D model, can be dealt with. "We identity areas that are mirrors and replace those with digital mirrors," Brown said. "A lot of the techniques and technologies we're using on the application side come from the computer gaming world." As in video games, mirrors and differences in lighting can be easily replicated with video effects tools. But the key to Matterport's efforts lies not just in small file sizes, feature sets, and affordability, but also in ease of use. "We've automated that entire process and got it to the point where anybody can operate the camera and the cloud processing figures out how to do everything," Brown said. "It puts this thing together like a jigsaw puzzle."And it is true that anyone can operate the camera. It's as simple as pressing a button; I did it myself, on an iPad, while a Matterport camera 3D-mapped a studio room at CNET's San Francisco office. You have to manually move the camera to desired areas for new sweeps, and you also have to walk around it as it's moving -- it pauses after each motorized rotation -- unless there's portion of the room that you can use to conceal yourself.
The result, after sending the data to the cloud service and letting it build the model for roughly 30 to 45 minutes, is a mix of awe and a strange sensation akin to animation's uncanny valley, thanks in part to the video game-styled movement you're employing within an unprecedented level of photorealism, Moving around can be done with directional arrows, including a jumping capability with iphone case kohls the space bar, Or if you're on an iPad, which can run Matterport's 3D models via its Web player, you can use specialized touch commands like two fingers to strafe side to side or pinch-to-zoom to go from the top-down view into first-person mode..