June 14, 2014

Traditionally 3D scanners are expensive - it required expensive laser scanner equipment and complicated software. But startup Replica Labs helped change that by developing an application called Rendor for 3D scanning using only a mobile phone with a camera.

Rendor is a free-to-use application that lets you scan and create usable 3D models of objects using just your phone. Users will be able to download and print, or receive a grid from Rendor to place beneath the object. Once the object is placed on the grid, the user simply scans (records video) of the object in a 360-degree motion. This video is uploaded to Rendor servers, and 5-15 seconds later the processing is done and the rendering is available for sharing, downloading, etc.

"We're focused on cloud processing at the moment, but as hardware improves we'll be able to localize this process and drive costs down further." said Isaac Roberts, co-founder at Replica Labs.

"The essential principle is that if you can use algorithms and code to generate 3D graphical renderings for video games then you can also do the reverse and create usable code from any 3D object." Robert explained. "People can therefore scan, manipulate and print objects for applications in rapid-prototyping, customization for fashion and ecommerce, and the arts."

At this stage, the core technology is complete and the team is currently building out the product in its scaled form. "Building the team, and bringing the product to a semi-polished form for the next wave of alpha testers is our current focus." Robert stated.

Building the scanning algorithms is not that easy. The underlying math, applying it in CUDA, and systemizing the processing so it's a clean output every time are tremendously difficult and complex, Robert told us. Their ultimate goal is to democratize 3D scanning and therefore to bring prices as low as possible.

Rendor is a freemium app so everyone will have the opportunity to take advantage of this technology. And the startup is also looking to introduce subscription plans ranging from approximately $12 to $25 per year depending on output precision.

Rendor app currently uses a calibration grid to increase accuracy, but the startup is planning to remove the grid in the future to empower users to scan anything they choose. They plans to launch a Kickstarter fundraising campaign for Rendor in August this year to allow everyone to scan more stuff in the short term.

"We'll also reward sharing the application, and especially our Kickstarter backers." Robert said. "We'll construct an API for business partners who are interested in using the technology for their own purposes. It's not difficult to imagine Mattel wanting to easily 3D scan a girl's face for a customized 3D printed doll, while other companies are interested in uses like prosthetics, apparel, high fashion, etc. Customized products and 'prosumers' are on their way, and we want to help this progress along as quickly as possible."

Replica Labs encourages everyone to sign up at their website to become one of their Beta testers. "We really want to see what people are going to tell us is important, and we use weekly SCRUMs to quickly fulfill those needs and to squash bugs as they're found." Robert said.

Replica Labs was founded by Isaac Robert, Vincent Spinella-Mamo and Brandon Minor. Robert grew up in Sarasota Florida, and after serving in the military, he completed his B.S. in Chemistry, and left his M.S. for business pursuits. He has been working on DARPA-supported applications ranging from dirty bomb detection to 3D imaging.

Spinella-Mamo is from Boca Raton, Florida and is the visionary and genius behind Rendor's technology. He completed his PhD in theoretical physics and then jumped at the chance to pursue postdoc work with the Google car with CIA funding, helping to pioneer new software technologies for 3D imaging.

Minor grew up in Winchester, Virginia and is currently completing his PhD in Robotic Vision with an emphasis on pathing - how robots perceive and interact with complex environments.

Watch the below the sneak peak of the Rendor app.

Posted in 3D Scanning

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Patrick McDonald wrote at 6/14/2014 1:32:39 PM:

I see an immediate application of being able to "as-built" existing installations, in the field to be able to incorporate them with new 3D models and isometric drawings.



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