Smartphone Cameras Turned Into 3D Scanners Capture Objects For Animation

Smartphone Cameras Turned Into 3D Scanners Capture Objects For Animation

A 3D-scanning app avoids the prohibitive costs of getting an actual scanner with much of the same functionality.

Rachel Pincus
  • 30 june 2014

Are you ready to start making 3D renderings through your smartphone or tablet? Make way for Rendor, a 3D scanner that works using the camera on those very devices. By putting a specially printed grid around an object and panning around it with your video camera, you can create your own digitized version of a real-life object, ripe for manipulation and animation.


The app, which is just in beta but can be tested upon request, was developed by Replica Labs, a startup that was founded in November. According to an interview with co-founder Isaac Roberts at, the company started with a simple idea: if you can generate lifelike 3D characters for video games out of completely abstract principles, then there’s no reason why the same logic might not be used for real-world objects, mapping textures and shapes onto polygon-based surfaces.


Rendor uses sophisticated new technologies like machine vision to generate its objects.

“Because the app works with GPGPU processing [using a graphics processor to complete CPU tasks], the complete time to render is super fast,” said developer Vincent Mamo to PSFK. “Second, we’re aiming to compete in the field of precision too…. We’re implementing some cutting edge algorithms that really take advantage of the new, and powerful, parallel processing power that is becoming popular on many handheld devices.”

According to, 3D scanners currently cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, and they’ve mostly been slaves to similarly expensive 3D printers. Thus far the lack of a use for such an item has led to slow growth in the 3D scanner market. Contrary to the conventional thinking with practically any kind of media-making device, Replica Labs believes that 3D scanning needs a starting push through democratization instead of requiring people and businesses to buy more expensive equipment.

So how will this idea monetize? Instead of expecting customers to make a huge and risky initial investment in something that might not be useful to them, Rendor works on a ‘freemium’ model, allowing you to make a certain number of renderings per month until you are asked to either share with friends or shell out something in the neighborhood of $15-25 for a year of service. Other competing systems like 123D Catch instead try to capitalize on those who print their creations, but Rendor hopes to compete with them on the basis of speed, accuracy and ease of use. “We want to make it easy enough for anyone to hand their app to their grandparents and create a 3D model,” said Mamo.

The app remains in a very early stage, and the developers are still looking for investors, with a Kickstarter planned for later this summer.

Replica Labs

[h/t] 3Ders,, TechCrunch, (2), (3)


Machine Printer Uses Coffee Drips To Create Intricate Portraits

Arts & Culture
Technology Yesterday

Why Nest Doesn't Get The Holidays

PSFK founder reacts to the damaging effects of poor email marketing

Children Yesterday

Robots Could Be Joining Dubai’s Police Force In 2017

The real-life RoboCops can salute, shake hands and collect traffic fines


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Travel Yesterday

Parka Hides And Charges Portable Devices

Bolt is a jacket that lets people carry and charge their various electronics without the need for an outlet

Related Expert

Lauren Rubin Tiley

Social Strategy, Retail Marketing, Digital Marketing

Food Yesterday

Yelp's New 'Yelfie' Feature Lets Diners Take Selfies

The update is designed to encourage people to attach a selfie when they share their experiences

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Build Your Own Savory Cheese Advent Calendar

A British food blogger has created a guide to building a different kind of holiday surprise

Fitness & Sport Yesterday

Floating Gym Concept In Paris Is Powered By Your Workout

The proposed design from Carlo Ratti Associati lets passengers ride a stationary bike as they travel through Paris along the Seine River


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Customer Service Expert: Why Offline Retail Has Better Data Than Online Retail

Healey Cypher, Founder and CEO of Oak Labs, shares why we should be thinking about the physical store as an e-commerce site

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Syndicated Yesterday

What Does The Future Of Android Look Like In A World With The Pixel?

Google’s decision to make its own phone might have looked like a blow to the likes of Samsung but the reality is much more interesting

Fashion Yesterday

Alexander McQueen Designs A 3D-Printed Umbrella

3D-printed fashion arrives in time for the winter season

Work Yesterday

Why Training Associates To Be Advocates Is Key To Retail Success

In our Future of Retail 2017 report, PSFK Labs discusses strategies to prioritize customer service, which begins with associate advocates

Media & Publishing Yesterday

Netflix Creates Binge Candle To Celebrate A New Season Of Gilmore Girls

The streaming service developed a special layered candle that creates candle with episode-specific smells


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Automotive Yesterday

Audi And LEGO Exhibit Autonomous Vehicle Installation

The installation at Design Miami explores the 25th hour, which represents bonus productive work or play time

Gaming & Play Yesterday

This Game Lets You Be A Pilot In The Drone Racing League

DRL Racing Simulator recreates actual courses in a virtual environment

Travel december 1, 2016

Hotel Chain Is Giving Away Its Not-So-Super Hotel Art At Art Basel

A lesson in how to advertise a kitschy-to-cool redesign in the middle of Miami Art Week

No search results found.