2-D photos spring to 3-D life

Jun 16, 2011 By Rob Knies

You’re interested in purchasing a car you’ve seen on the web. It’s the right make, model and vintage. It seems to be in great shape, and it’s just the right color. The price seems reasonable. So what’s the problem?

The problem, of course, is what’s on the side away from the camera. Is it just as pristine, or is it a mess of door dings with an unmatched fender?

The solution is simple. Spin the image around on your PC screen and take a look.

Sound impossible? That’s because you haven’t seen the D.C. TechFair 2011 demo 3-D Scanning with a Regular Camera. Demonstrated today by Sudipta Sinha, a researcher who helped devise the project with his Interactive Visual Media colleagues Johannes Kopf, Rick Szeliski, Eric Stollnitz, and Matt Uyttendaele at Microsoft Research Redmond, the research project enables the creation of a 3-D image from a modest collection of ordinary photographs, the kind commonly acquired these days by anybody with a point-and-shoot camera or a mobile phone.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

“Suppose you see something interesting and you want to capture different views of an object from different angles,” Sinha says. “You take these pictures from different viewpoints, send them to our system, and it automatically figures out a 3-D model by measuring the 3-D depth behind the pixels in the images. Once you have that, you can interactively, seamlessly change the view from one camera location to another, and this allows the object to be viewed interactively in 3-D.”

Once you have that, your prospective car seller can mark this one sold.

Sinha shows just such a demo, constructed from a mere 48 photos. Some people click off that many in minutes. The get transferred to a PC and uploaded to the cloud. A processing pipeline then matches similar images and learns how the moved in 3-D, enabling the creation of a depth map, not dissimilar from the depth data provided by the Kinect for Xbox 360 sensor.

The depth data gets stored, in a compact format, and is then viewable on virtually any screen you prefer: phone, laptop, desktop—you name it. Standard computer-graphics technology enables the viewing. It could even run inside a browser as a Silverlight app.

The potential for such technology seems endless. Yes, e-commerce and retail scenarios seem immediately obvious, but uses in tourism or education aren’t far behind.

As Sinha says, “This is an enabling technology that makes lots of applications possible.”

Admit it: You want this already, don’t you?

Explore further: Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

Provided by Microsoft Corporation

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientist creates 3-D scanner iPhone app (w/ video)

Apr 14, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Leave it to an iPhone app developer to turn a tool that cost hundreds of dollars a year ago into something that can be done with a 99-cent app. Grant Schindler, research scientist in Georgia ...

One year of the moon in 2.5 minutes

Jun 15, 2011

We don’t always have the time or ability to see the Moon every night of the year, but this video, from the Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio, uses data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter ...

A 360 degree camera that sees in 3D (w/ Video)

Dec 01, 2010

Surround sight has come to the camera. Inspired by the eye of a fly, EPFL scientists have invented a camera that can take pictures and film in 360° and reconstruct the images in 3D.

Recommended for you

Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

19 hours ago

The Google Android platform grabbed the majority of mobile phones in the US market in early 2014, as consumers all but abandoned non-smartphone handsets, a survey showed Friday.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

Apr 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...