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Scan Yourself Into Virtual Reality Using Your Smartphone

Scan Yourself Into Virtual Reality Using Your Smartphone
culture

A point and shoot is all it takes to upload your face into the VR world

Ido Lechner
  • 17 march 2016

Known for its advancements in computer vision, especially with its successfully backed Kickstarter campaign which announced the world’s first wireless, pocket-sized scanner, Dacuda is a Swiss software start-up that just rolled out an exciting product looking to enhance the capabilities of current-state virtual reality and 3D-printing technologies.

Using its patented SLAM Scan® 3D engine—a unique robotics algorithm used to enable real-time reconstruction of 3D objects in smartphones—the company has unveiled its latest development: an SDK to be used in mobile games and extensions which will enable players to scan themselves, then play as themselves using nothing more than their smartphones. To find out more about the implications such a device can have on the gaming and printing industries, we spoke with CEO Peter Weigand, who gave us a glimpse of the many possible applications of creating your own photorealistic avatar.

“Today, generating 3D content is limited to expensive and cumbersome technology,” Weigand told PSFK. “Our technology allows you to scan your face in real-time to generate a high quality 3D avatar of yourself, all from your mobile device.”

The technology comes at a time when virtual reality is accelerating in growth; with the Google Cardboard enabling any smartphone user to enter virtual spaces otherwise exclusive to those who own far more expensive headsets, Dacuda’s SDK will facilitate better self-representation and expression. Beyond the phone however, major league brands like EA Sports owned FIFA and NBA 2K series—which currently feature ‘My Player’ modes that allow you to reproduce yourself in-game and train your player—will also benefit from the realistic and detail-oriented capture the SDK provides.

“The future of gaming is about creating worlds that totally absorb the player, and realistic avatars are essential to making that vision come true. With Dacuda’s pioneering new solution for game studios, we open up an exciting new world of possibilities for game studios and players alike.”

But the SLAM Scan® 3D engine doesn’t operate with gaming exclusively. Yhe SDK meshes well with most things that require 3D mapping, especially 3D printing. Weidgand explains that figurines are absolutely possible to craft, be it a model of yourself or an object you’ve captured instead. Within seconds, 3D captured objects – which already exceed the resolution of semi-pro depth cameras – can be scanned and printed.

The technology itself has multiple general use-cases, from high-precision image stitching to real-time global image map optimization. It works by processing images inputting from standard cameras and determines their exact positioning in three-dimensional space, while probabilistically reconstructing the depth simultaneously to form a 3D point cloud of whatever object is captured in the image. This is best depicted in their video, here:

“Thanks to real-time feedback, users can arbitrarily move the camera to capture an object, while viewing the capture from their movements in real-time. For the first time, the creation of 3D objects can be as simple as taking a video,” according to the Dacuda website.

While SLAM Scan® 3D software has been previously used to build out ‘3DAround,’ a three-dimensional food photography app, ‘Dacuda LTL,’ a wide angle high resolution mobile camera that stitches in real-time, ‘Rapid Input MRZ,’ a live feedback Passport/ID/Driver’s License reader, and the aforementioned PocketScanner, Dacuda’s shift towards gaming is a pivot set to greatly enrich an already thunderous industry. For online games and social media applications—especially those set in virtual reality- many users are likely to use the technology to stick with their authentic presence rather than assume the role of a pre-generated avatar.

SLAM Scan® 3D engine

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