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Scientist Creates 3D Scanner App For iPhone

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the end-platen-nudity dept.

Input Devices 118

An anonymous reader writes "A research scientist at Georgia Tech has created a 3D scanner app for the iPhone which uses the phone's screen as a light source to quickly capture digital 3D models of faces and other objects. The app, called Trimensional, can output directly to a 3D printer to make physical copies of objects, which a few people have already tried. An Android version is in the works."

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hey (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876310)

whipe my ass slashdot

Accuracy ? Poor at best. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876320)

There's a reason lasers are used to perform 3D scans.

The iPhone screen is not a point source of light.

Good luck making any parts which are more than crude attempts
at copies.

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (0)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876360)

See the links. Behold the lack of complete inaccuracy. Rejoice at the power of algorithms. Did you know you can assemble a DNA sequence for an entire 2.2 Gb organism from 100-nucleotide fragments, if those fragments overlap? Numbers are amazing sometimes like that.

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876570)

You are right, in part. If we are talking about reproducing a specific class of object (ie, a face, a car) you can use partial data and fit a model to it. Without very specific domain knowledge, though, this is not going to produce the same quality of results as a better sensor. There is just too much inherent ambiguity.

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876640)

Not exactly - if you have a reference yes and we do but, you will lose information, algorithms will only get you so far especially if you are looking for small changes. Otherwise you might as well have a pile of junk. For instance there are some ~ eight thousand plus Alu elements (280bp long bits of parasitic DNA), with hinger than 95% identity to the consensus of the most active family, in the human genome... not to mention LINE 1 elements and SVA elements and HERVs which are all less frequent but longer. Now add noise from whatever "second generation" sequencing method you are using and other rearrangements or point mutations in that massive batch of PCR you did to get your sample up to size on top (medical samples are very small with good reason).

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (4, Interesting)

Dr Max (1696200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876492)

Still, how long before pirating no longer applies to just data?

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876600)

When replicating in smaller quantities and with non-specific materials is cheaper than mass production with machines made to make the product with correct materials.

I can't see such technology being able to replicate a snickers bar or anything beyond a simple model.

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876844)

Your forgeting the huge excess manufactures and retailers put ontop of the product cost. I agree that manufacturing costs in a plant will be lower than in your living room. However this technology will get better, 3d printers are on the verge of creating circut boards and even if its twice the price as in the plant and you have to buy some components, it could become feasible.

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35877198)

I for one *WOULD* download a car!

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35877552)

You mean like with ships? :)

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (1)

Gravitron 5000 (1621683) | more than 3 years ago | (#35879082)

Just think of what pirating could do to our shipping? Oh, the humanity!

Mount iPhone/iPod into a sled with a laser ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876662)

There's a reason lasers are used to perform 3D scans. The iPhone screen is not a point source of light. Good luck making any parts which are more than crude attempts at copies.

Mount the iPhone/iPod into a sled, like they do with credit card readers, that provides the laser and a fixed geometry.

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876880)

I think you missed the point, its the fact that its an iPhone app that makes it cool & news. What, are you new here?

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876974)

There's a reason lasers are used to perform 3D scans. The iPhone screen is not a point source of light.

  1. 1. Modify iPhone to add scanning laser.
  2. 2. Point iPhone at remaining good eye.
  3. 3. ???
  4. 4. Profit!

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877132)

kinect uses IR and does decently, yesterdays lasers are quickly becoming todays led's

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35877438)

Kinect uses an IR laser, to be specific. But uses a method totally different than most laser scanners. It uses coded structured light...similar to other structured light solutions, but with an "invisible" pattern projection.

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877300)

There's a reason lasers are used to perform 3D scans.

The iPhone screen is not a point source of light.

Good luck making any parts which are more than crude attempts
at copies.

That's not what they use the laser for. It's a range finder. You don't actually need a range finder if you use video to extrapolate motion. You can actually capture 3d point cloud data just by using motion tracking software.

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877430)

Yeah, duh.

But a simple app like this* adds more popularity to 3d scanning and printing than a hundred "easy to solder" 3d scanner schematics. Joe Average would never ever build his own, or even buy a pre-built one.
But if he can be entertained for 5 minutes by a free app, then maybe he could begin to understand the idea of 3d printers. And then maybe they could become economically viable to mass-produce.

*I haven't actually tried the app, but I assume it at least could be made relatively simple to use.

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (1)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877868)

Joe Average would never ever build his own, or even buy a pre-built one.

I would buy a kit that would allow me to assemble my own 3D printer. Do you have an app that can tell me how to do that? ;-)

Re:Accuracy ? Poor at best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35881400)

http://www.makerbot.com/

I purchased the Cupcake CNC kit and put it together myself.

Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (5, Insightful)

WarpedCore (1255156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876322)

I'm kind of leaning on the idea that the "anonymous reader" that submitted the article might be the author of the software.

The software barely works. You need to lock yourself in a pitch black room for the thing to even remotely register the geometry correctly. Anywhere with any hint of light other than from your iOS device screen totally throws it off. Put your money into a more worthwhile 99 cent investment/scientific achievement... Fat Booth.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876354)

Maybe you can't follow directions or hold the camera still.... it works exactly as it says it will. It isn't going to replace a $4000 3D camera...check around the internet for reviews and photos.. and no, I'm not the "author of the software" nor did I post this story... I just get annoyed when people make nasty false comments.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (1, Insightful)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876498)

$4000? The cheapest one I found is $11 [amazon.com] with free Prime shipping on Amazon. Heck, a Sony Bloggie [amazon.com] is like $250, and it shoots 3D *video*. I'd wager that the quality is at least on-par with some craptacular software for a fanboy cellphone. :)

Yes, I know this is different. I don't care.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (1, Troll)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877060)

Yes, I know this is different. I don't care.

You should care because you sound like an idiot. The 'Sony Bloggie' is for capturing stereo footage, not scanning in 3D.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877234)

Although, with the right software, geometry reconstruction from stereo imagery would work a lot better than this iPhone app does.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877268)

Having worked with technology that does just that I can answer that: No, it doesn't. Capturing a point cloud by moving the camera around has always worked better, that's why professional 3d scanners use that approach instead of using stereo imagery. Try looking up the word 'occlusion'.

You can't spin it to make it look like he had anything resembling a point.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35880334)

They Sony "3d Bloggie" does shoot video, not just two still images, so the iPhone has nothing over it. But since the Bloggie has a fixed focal length (no zoom) and a known distance between the stereo images, you could solve for the scale of the scanned object - something you cannot do with a single camera moving around.

As for the parent (intentionally) having a point, I never said that.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35880930)

But since the Bloggie has a fixed focal length (no zoom) and a known distance between the stereo images, you could solve for the scale of the scanned object - something you cannot do with a single camera moving around.

Actually, you *can* solve for the scale of a scanned object by moving a camera around. In fact, it's basically the same equation used to extract depth from a pair of lenses in a stereo configuration, it's also the essence of how a 'Match Move' works. Until you start moving those cameras around like you're doing with this app we're talking about, you're not actually going to get a coherent 3d mesh, you're, at best, going to get a depth map, and a very narrow FoV one at that. The way it works is it watches the video for points it can track, when it has enough of them it can work out what the camera move was, and from there it knows where those points are 3-dimensionally. The process you're talking about is virtually the same, it finds common points between the two images, and using a known distance for the camera travel it has a good idea what the depth probably is. The problem is, until you get an actual moving camera there, it can't see enough to actually create a mesh. Even if it could, and why not, the technology is advancing all the time, it's still not seeing anywhere near as much info as a moving camera.

I wasn't kidding when I said I've worked with technology that does both. Believe it or not, I actually work with two different companies trying to achieve the same goal with both of these very techniques. The stereo technique is not *better*.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35881270)

Again, the Bloggie *is* a moving camera (in addition to being stereoscopic). But, do you have a reference on solving for the scale of an scanned scanned via moving camera? It seems to me you have to start with some known distance measurement, somewhere.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876438)

Totally agree. While I applaud the idea of putting this kind of tech onto mobile devices, it is really hard to get anything resembling a real object out of it.

Referring to the software's author as a Scientist in the title is meant to delude the reader into thinking that the software has scientific relevance. It doesn't. It is a 30 year old algorithm with no additional novelty except the fact that it was implemented on a mobile device.

The lofty claims in the article are totally disconnected from the reality of the potential of the methods he is using.

"Once we get scanners in everyone’s hands, you should be able to use these images for any use you can think of, replicating physical objects by sending your scans to a 3-D printer, or creating a perfect digital substitute to take your video calls when you’re not looking your best,” said Schindler. “Or you could put it on your World of Warcraft character, or use it in other games."

People have been saying the same thing for the past 15 years. While devices such as the kinect have brought us closer to this reality (albeit, we're still very far away from achieving the ability to model arbitrary objects easily with anything consumer accessible), this is certainly not a step in the right direction....other than maybe to get people excited and put more effort into the space.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (1)

DeathElk (883654) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876760)

At least he actually did it, not just whinge about how crap it is on an Internet forum.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35877040)

Note the comment:

"I applaud the idea of putting this kind of tech onto mobile devices"

The problem with the article (and the author's comments in the article's context) is that it is misleading. It is good that people get excited about this stuff, but just the fact that you can implement an old algorithm with inherent problems on a new device does not mean we are any closer to achieving the kinds of things that people are getting excited about.

It would be unfortunate to pour money and effort into such a simplistic effort and lose sight of the fact that it is going to take much more time and effort than implied to make real progress in this domain. Investors will become gunshy of this space once they have been burned after realizing how much harder the problem really is.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877180)

its a 99 cent app for people who have 300$ + phones and 500$ + makerbot setups, let them act like retards, besides what do you expect out of a phone? George Lucas and Jesus making video holograms a the push of a button?

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876448)

Still cool clever programming.

Wait until they make an iPhone laser scanning accessory so you can do it better.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#35878284)

It is highly unlikely to EVER significantly improve, It is like trying to use a sledge hammer to open peanuts, sure you can sorta do it, but no matter what they do it will still be a clumsy, stupid and pointless way to do it that can be done a 1000 times more effectively with other devices.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876616)

I still thought it was kind of neat, and I wanted to use it with my Thing-o-Matic [makerbot.com] , and at $0.99 I'd happily buy it. But then I start reading the description of the last update: STL and point cloud export available with an in-app purchase. In app purchase cost? $5.

I'm not interested enough to pay $6. I really dislike in-app purchases that are so much more than the app was. If the app included the functionality and cost $3, I'd happily buy it. The app has to generate the same set of triangles whether it's just displaying it on the screen or it's going to be output to STL or a point cloud. I'm sure there is a little more work involved, but I have a hard time believing the export function took 5x the work of the initial version.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876700)

For your reference: Why You're Cheap [theoatmeal.com]

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35877158)

Absolutely right. You think they could put that information on the web site and be more direct about the pricing. It was interesting enough to spend 99 cents, but I would love the export, but not at $5 especially since the scans are pretty poor.

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877142)

OMFG software with REQUIREMENTS?!?

ahhhhh!!!! run!!!!

Re:Story Summary Omits Fact That It Barely Works (1)

ksandom (718283) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877588)

Think back to your days working in tech support. Remember the noob on the other side of the office who always had a problem and was always looking for a way to tell you your work is wrong?

Awesome (1)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876326)

That is just super cool. This is the kind of stuff that gets me excited about the future.

Re:Awesome (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876370)

The cure to AIDS will allow you to continue sucking

Re:Awesome (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35881558)

This is the kind of stuff that gets me excited about the future.

The only thing exciting thing in the future is the royal wedding next week, after that it's all downhill 'til the heat death of the universe.

Why iOS first all the time? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876376)

I have never got a convincing reason as to why individuals and companies develop iOS applications before Android applications even when Android is clearly more popular than iOS...at least in the USA. Why?

Re:Why iOS first all the time? (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876452)

Why not? In this case, the guy is a research scientist and likely doesn't care a whole lot about market share. Secondly, I'm guessing he has an iPhone rather than an Android phone and so he's more likely to develop for the phone he has.

Companies often develop for the iPhone first because iPhone owners are more affluent and spend more money on apps than Android developers.

Re:Why iOS first all the time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876502)

Because no one gives a shit about your stupid mobile OS war and so because they know it annoys you so much they will continue to release for iPhone first so you can continue bawwwing.

Re:Why iOS first all the time? (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876510)

Because its not just the iPhone. Unless it uses a device specific module (like GPS) then the apps will also work on iPods and iPads. Putting all 3 devices together makes for a number thats vastly greater than Android.

You also have the repeatability factor. If it works on my iPhone, it'll work on yours. With android being on multiple devices, the software may be the same, but the hardware might not.

Re:Why iOS first all the time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876512)

Market share is not everything. Apple is the trend setter, and will attract more development for that reason. Android is the copycat.

Re:Why iOS first all the time? (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877548)

Exactly. Before the iPod touch there were no such things as touch screen PDA's [wikipedia.org] with App Stores [wikipedia.org] . Oh, I'm sorry, you meant making them shiny and "hip"!

Wrong, iOS is more popular (3, Informative)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876542)

If you count the iPad, iOS is kicking Android's booty. Besides, the people who buy Androids don't buy apps. They are cheap people who want 1-cent phones, or geeks who think everything should be free. iPhone owners buy way, way more apps, so developers go where the money is.

Re:Wrong, iOS is more popular (1)

llZENll (545605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876624)

so true, if you look up the figures Apple accounts for 99% of all mobile software sales, andriod doesn't even come close, piracy is rampant on andriod. its bad on ios, but destroying the andriod software market, if it weren't for ios, there wouldn't be hardly any andriod apps. if you are a mobile software developer its pretty much common knowledge your #1 goal is ios, if you then have a hit on ios, then do a port for andriod and expect 1/20 - 1/100th the sales even though there are 10x the number of devices. and expect rampant piracy and a fragmented device market that is a pita to support.

Re:Wrong, iOS is more popular (2)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876642)

Even without the iPad, iOS has a huge installed base thanks to the iPod touch. This app is limited since it needs the front facing camera (limiting it to the iPhone 4, newest iPod, and iPad 2), but it's still a massive number of potential customers.

There is also the fact that the iPhone is easy to develop for, and has a huge development community. Android is supposed to be pretty good (and certainly head-and-shoulders above Symbian), but if you have a question about how to do something on iOS, it's pretty easy to find the answer and lots of sample code.

Re:Wrong, iOS is more popular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35880356)

I buy Android apps. I've got at least 15 paid apps on my phone right now. If I find an app that does what I want and does it well, I upgrade to the paid version even if I don't need to (e.g. Maverick). I want to see continued development for the apps that I use. I've even paid for a few games that are polished and fun to play.

There's money in Android applications.

Re:Why iOS first all the time? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876564)

Perhaps the fact that Apple has paid a cumulative 2 billion dollars to third party developers who release apps on the App Store?

While Android is "more popular" (citation needed - how many people are saying "I want an Android phone" compared to "I want an iPhone"? - I will wager that it's not popularity that has given Android its market share, but the plethora of devices it is available on, some of which are cheap and nasty, some of which are definite iPhone competitors).

Either way, the iOS app market is a fixed, well understood target with solid numbers for use, money spent per user, install base etc, while the Android Market is less well understood, and not even available to all Android users.

It is a total no brainer to develop for iOS if you are making a mobile app - 100 million install base, all with access to the store, with only three hardware configurations (iPad not included).

There are benefits to being a walled garden, and this is one of them. There are clearly also downsides.

Re:Why iOS first all the time? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876778)

Because iOS users purchase more apps. Or, to be more specific, the amount of $$$ spent in App Store over a given period of time is bigger than that in Android Market.

Re:Why iOS first all the time? (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876906)

Because it isn't. There are more Androids than iPhones, but there are more iOS devices than android devices by a very large margin (50%).

Additionally, the average iOS user is willing to pay more than the average android user.

Re:Why iOS first all the time? (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877368)

Relevant : John Carmack [nowgamer.com] on iOS vs Android

"With Rage HD on iOS do you see yourself ever working on Android?
Every six months I’d take a look at the scope of the Android, and decide if it was time to start really looking at it. At the last Quakecon I took a show of hands poll, and it was interesting to see how almost as many people there had an Android device as an iOS device. But when I asked how many peple had spent 20 bucks on a game in the Android store, there was a big difference. You’re just not making money in the Android space as you are in the iOS space."

There's an audio version of the actual poll floating around on Youtube, but I can't find the link right now.

Re:Why iOS first all the time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35878814)

"But when I asked how many peple had spent 20 bucks on a game in the Android store, there was a big difference."

Someone should tell Carmack that smartphone games are pretty lame and not worth more than a couple bucks. Especially that piece of crap on rails, Rage. I will never buy another smartphone game for over 5 bucks again. What a waste.

well boga... (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876968)

One day, when you move out of your moms basement, you will run up against a number of challenges in our world.
The company that provides electrical power to your moms house wants money in proportion (and then some) to the amount of money your mom extracted from their circuit.
Similarly, the water and fuel companies want a cut. The government wants one for something else, and all this before paying for the actual house.
In effect, they all want money. So, when you step out to this 'democracy of debt', and want to somehow be on the winning side of "time=money"; which app store will you choose?

Re:well boga... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35877284)

how come slashdot's free, and linux, and firefox, and why did berners-lee release the world wide web specs for free, and why did kleinrock say there was no economic motivation behind the development of the internet...

Why did Tesla rip up his contract with Westinghouse, why did Socrates teach for free?

Why do isp's try to throttle instead of figuring out how to provide more bandwidth for everyone?

Why do old women in our society hold so much of the money? Why is money kept artificially scarce? Why do bankers get to multiply deposits by 10 and attach debt to it? WHY ARE WE STILL SLAVES TO A FEUDAL ECONOMICS WHEN REAGAN PROVED DEFICITS DON'T MATTER?!?

Re:Why iOS first all the time? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877110)

I have never got a convincing reason as to why individuals and companies develop iOS applications before Android applications even when Android is clearly more popular than iOS...at least in the USA. Why?

Like or hate Apple, developers make money with them.

Re:Why iOS first all the time? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877794)

I have never got a convincing reason as to why individuals and companies develop iOS applications before Android applications even when Android is clearly more popular than iOS...at least in the USA. Why?

Because iPhone users are actually paying money for the apps.

http://www.mydroid.info/android-apps/guest-post-iphone-vs-android-apps-whos-making-more-money/ [mydroid.info]

The app market is expected to exceed 15 billion dollars in revenues. It is estimated that there will be roughly 17.2 billion app downloads worldwide. The iPhone app market is expected to score about one billion in sales, while Android app sales will generate some 100 million dollars.

Gaming the App Store (1)

Flyerman (1728812) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876402)

You gain the ability to export through a one-time in-app purchase.

Countdown until... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876408)

...the inevitable commercial.

You wouldn't copy a VCR.... You wouldn't copy a car.... Don't copy movies....

Re:Countdown until... (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876496)

I believe it's "You wouldn't download a car". Though I do believe, I would if I could. Oh-ho yes.

What wonders, with time for it to mature (3, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876430)

How long before advances in scanning and 3D printing will allow for any object to be analyzed and recreated so cheaply that it replaces traditional manufacturing processes? And then the next step is to cut out the scanning and just make originals from digital schematics. It's probably an inevitability that such an industrial revolution will happen, but I'd really like to see it in my life time; I'll likely live another 60 years even disregarding medical advancements so I think I just might. It's also interesting to think about the restructuring society will be forced into with such advancements. The hilarious parody of the music industry's anti-copying ad, "You wouldn't download a car." might somewhat resemble reality as the traditional power structures of capitalism, finance, and industry struggle for life in their death agony. In a world where every village has a Star Trek-like replicator, there's going to be a lot of pissed off robber barons and Shenzhen factory bosses.

This is a pretty cool demonstration of the technology, but it's just a toy right now. In its mature state it's going to make quite a lot of people nervous and angry. If we thought adapting to an age where information; books, music, movies, ideas, can be replicated and distributed at virtually no cost, we are going to be in for quite the shock when the same paradigm (or one like it, as raw materials will still need to be mined, grown, produced, etc) is brought to physical, tangible objects.

Yes, I would download a car...if I could.

Re:What wonders, with time for it to mature (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876572)

How long before advances in scanning and 3D printing will allow for any object to be analyzed and recreated so cheaply that it replaces traditional manufacturing processes?

Until we get star trek like replicators, never.
Unless we're talking about boring plan constructs, like blocks of wood or the like. Anything else you'd have to model an interior as well as interior parts. You're sure as heck not going to be printing yourself up a calculator.

Re:What wonders, with time for it to mature (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876586)

Yeah, you try printing a car. See how durable ABS plastic is.

As for making originals from digital schematics... It's called computer-aided design [wikipedia.org] , and it's old news. You can probably find schematics for just about anything you'd ever want to make on the Internet.

Re:What wonders, with time for it to mature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35877624)

What? What idiot would make a car out of ABS plastic??? I would make the molds out of abs plastic, then form carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic from them. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAdVO8Rkv6c

Re:What wonders, with time for it to mature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35880538)

At least I could say my plastic car has ABS and get an insurance break.

Re:What wonders, with time for it to mature (1)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876612)

Well said! The world will be a very different place once 3D printing technology matures. Assuming, of course, that the current manufacturing industry doesn't realize the threat this will eventually pose and tries to stifle it...

Re:What wonders, with time for it to mature (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877090)

How long before advances in scanning and 3D printing will allow for any object to be analyzed and recreated so cheaply that it replaces traditional manufacturing processes?

This is a fun mental exercise, but you need to consider that there's a reason most of the stuff we buy is made up of more than one substance at a time. Try to imagine what would really be involved in 3d-printing a complete PC and you'll start to get the idea. By the time you've accumulated small amounts of gold and silicon and everything else, you might as well have purchased the cheaply made machine whose resources were purchased at a volume discount.

As somebody else stated, you need Star Trek replicators to really make your vision come true.

Re:What wonders, with time for it to mature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35879698)

If the printer was initially military-rugged, solar powered, and could display instructions for building crude smelters and whatnot out of most raw environmental material, giving it at least access to raw metals of vague purity, silicon, and possibly wood pulp, I wonder if it could bootstrap a remote village from subsistence farming to the information age over the course of months or years? Bonus points if it can at least get them to the point where they're feeding it sufficiently refined material to allow it to functionally (if not aesthetically) clone itself.

Re:What wonders, with time for it to mature (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877210)

How long before advances in scanning and 3D printing will allow for any object to be analyzed and recreated so cheaply that it replaces traditional manufacturing processes?

Probably never in entirity because a lot of manufacturing processes are very very cheap for making things in bulk. This stuff is very useful but looking for using it to replace absolutely everything else is asking a bit too much of it when some things can be done without requiring as much complication or effort.
Making things from "digital schematics" has been happening from decades with a variety of devices. An undergraduate engineering subject I took in 1988 was effectively about that - writing lisp scripts to convert AutoCAD drawings into G-codes to drive a 3 axis milling machine.
As for 3D printers - even at the "toy" stage they are useful for prototyping and for amazing things like the 1998 effort of making a model of a skull from a CT scan. The skull model was used by a reconstructive surgeon to successfully plan a very complex operation on the deformed child that was the subject of the scan. The operation involved cutting off several bits of skull (six or more) and move them around to build a more normal face and head for the child.

Re:What wonders, with time for it to mature (1)

telepilot (923790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35878046)

See this Economist article [economist.com] for a more wider perspective on 3d printing and the impact it will have on the manufacturing industry

Re:What wonders, with time for it to mature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35880750)

The Economist took a serious look at 3D printing: http://www.economist.com/node/18114221

Just like desktop printers haven't replaced the printing press for magazines and newspapers, they conclude that the same will be true of 3D printers. So home users can print coffee mugs and replacement parts; manufacturers can make a profit on low volume production runs (enabling greater risk taking) and can personalize mass produced items (e.g. shoes that fit your feet perfectly). But in the end, mass production will still be cheaper. So 3D printing will will replace mass production in a lot of areas, but not all.

Re:What wonders, with time for it to mature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35881110)

Never.

If the technology to "print" a given manufactured object existed the manufacturers would use it. And due to economics of scale they will be able to get large "industrial grade" versions of the same machines, as well as price breaks on raw materials that are not viable options for the "home" fabricator looking to do a single run.

large scale mass production will always be more efficient than small scale limited runs using the same technology.

Why only faces as examples? (1)

blindseer (891256) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876548)

I could think of all kinds of interesting things to try to get 3D images of with this software, why are all the examples only of someone's face?

Also, the articles mentioned similar software for desktop operating systems. Can anyone name a few? I have a camera built-in to the lid of my triple boot Macbook so I could experiment. Unfortunately my iPod does not have a camera.

Re:Why only faces as examples? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876660)

That was my thought too. It would be so easy to use this to get a model of some small toy like a hot wheels car, or even just something like a few keys on a keyboard.

Re:Why only faces as examples? (2)

garompeta (1068578) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876726)

I could think of all kinds of interesting things to try to get 3D images of with this software, why are all the examples only of someone's face?

Precisely, who in his right mind would scan a face?
The first picture a normal sane male would take is his penis.

Re:Why only faces as examples? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35877208)

The first picture a normal sane male would take is his penis.

I'll vouch for that. The first picture I took with the camera on the 3DS was of my junk.

Re:Why only faces as examples? (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877414)

Precisely, who in his right mind would scan a face?
The first picture a normal sane male would take is his penis.

But where would I get the wide angle lens for my iPhone ?

Re:Why only faces as examples? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35877662)

If you have to hold it close enough that it won't all fit onscreen, then the least of your worries is a wide angle lens.

Re:Why only faces as examples? (1)

Gravitron 5000 (1621683) | more than 3 years ago | (#35879242)

Right here [photojojo.com] , although this being slashdot, the macro lens is more likely required.

3D self pics... (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876584)

...of the porn variety in 3..2..1..

Seriously, it's 12 inches! (1)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876862)

I can blame the "retina screen" for poor translation to actual size... "No, really, you need to lower your resolution a bit to appreciate it!"

What if... (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876618)

What would happen if two iphones tried to scan each other at the same?

Singularity?
Implosion of the known universe?
The app author laughing maniacally at the two fools who paid for this app?

Re:What if... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877126)

What would happen if two iphones tried to scan each other at the same?

The same thing that happens when you put two video cameras in front of each other.

The app author laughing maniacally at the two fools who paid for this app?

Sour grapes?

Re:What if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35877244)

you get signal interference. TFA talks about the same thing happening with reflective surfaces, tehy interfere with the scanning process.

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Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35876908)

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just a thought (1)

devincook (1929234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35876886)

I wonder if there's any way to do this with structured light [wikipedia.org] or one of the other 3D scanning methods. I don't know if it would be possible to do with the iPhone screen, but aren't there phones hitting the market soon with those pico projectors built-in? It's my (limited) understanding that there are a lot of different ways it may be possible to improve the accuracy. Man, the future looks awesome.

Old news (2)

smart_ass (322852) | more than 3 years ago | (#35877084)

Tried it months ago when I saw it.
Kinda sucks for now.
Pitch black room
Sketchy accuracy ...

Sure it will push people, which is a good thing.

This however will soon be forgotten.

Just an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35877670)

Why not use the compass, accelerometer and GPS along with the camera? Take a few pictures from different angles and use them along with location and heading data from the other sensors to stitch together a 3d model the same way stereoscopic vision works. It probably wouldn't be much use for scanning small objects but you could get a "close enough" scan for things like buildings, vehicles or maybe people.

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This looks interesting, but... (0)

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Cro-magon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35879106)

A cro-magon scientist develops 3D printing... while homo-sapiens still print in 2D.... Neat!

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