Cell phone app builds photorealistic 3D models

March 24, 2011 | Source: Technology Review

Microsoft researchers have developed a cell phone app that can build a photorealistic 3D model capable of being spun around and viewed from any angle, says Microsoft researcher Eric Stollnitz.

To make a model from the initial snapshots, the app first compares the photos to determine where in 3D space they were taken from. The app then uses what it learns to break each image apart and spread what it captures through virtual 3D space.

The pieces from different photos are stitched together on the fly, creating the same view that you would see if you were walking around the object in physical space.

A detailed 360-degree view of a car-sized object needs around 40 photos, while a smaller object like a birthday cake needs 25 or fewer.