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: Ride-sharing app Lyft expands to new markets

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

Review: 'Hearthstone' card game is the real deal

20 hours ago

Video game publishers don't take many risks with their most popular franchises. You know exactly what you are going to get from a new "Call of Duty" or "Madden NFL" game—it will probably be pretty good, ...

Microsoft expands ad-free Bing search for schools

Apr 23, 2014

Microsoft is expanding a program that gives schools the ability to prevent ads from appearing in search results when they use its Bing search engine. The program, launched in a pilot program earlier this year, is now available ...

Growing app industry has developers racing to keep up

Apr 20, 2014

Smartphone application developers say they are challenged by the glut of apps as well as the need to update their software to keep up with evolving phone technology, making creative pricing strategies essential to finding ...

Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

Apr 18, 2014

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.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Google+ boss leaving the company

The executive credited with bringing the Google+ social network to life is leaving the Internet colossus after playing a key role there for nearly eight years.

Facebook woos journalists with 'FB Newswire'

Facebook launched Thursday FB Newswire, billed as an online trove of real-time information for journalists and newsrooms to mine while reporting on events or crafting stories.

Ocean microbes display remarkable genetic diversity

The smallest, most abundant marine microbe, Prochlorococcus, is a photosynthetic bacteria species essential to the marine ecosystem. An estimated billion billion billion of the single-cell creatures live i ...