Jun 3, 2015 | By Simon

Between the latest iPhone and Samsung smartphones - among dozens of other smartphones from other manufacturers - it would almost appear that the technology couldn’t get more advanced.  Yet, time and time again we are blown away by the latest in screen sizes, camera resolutions and software updates that make each new device feel like an entirely new experience.

But as mobile photography soars in popularity thanks to the likes of Instagram and other photo and video sharing services, consumers are increasingly caring more and more about the camera component of their phones more than anything else.  At what point are they going to start asking for more than just a higher resolution of photograph?

Among other companies that have been actively looking at additional camera types include Intel; the company’s RealSense depth-sensing 3D camera was designed to add an entirely new type of user experience to existing cameras on PCs, tablets and smartphones.  While we’ve previously heard about the technology, it is finally finding its way into a number of devices and tech journalists - who are consistently among the first to test these new experiences - have been getting a taste of the technology over the past few weeks.   

Among other applications that are ready for the incorporation of the RealSense experience include Windows 10, which is slated to be released in July of this year.  For users that own a PC with a RealSense-embedded camera, they will be able to log into their computer simply by sitting in front of it; thanks to the the camera’s depth-sensing technology, it is capable of scanning a user’s head in three dimensions and then compares that to an existing 3D scan that it keeps on file as an authentic user.

The above is just one example of the new technology - which already has over 75 applications that are ready to take advantage of it.  But just like any other new 3D technology, the applications for 3D printing are sure to be innovative and exciting.  

Among other 3D printing-related applications that the RealSense has been used for are the creation of video game avatars that can be sent to a 3D printer or 3D printing service to be printed into an action figure or even just a simple, common head scan that is added to an existing body such as a lawn gnome’s.  

Gizmodo Australia’s Luke Hopewell recently took the technology for a spin and was delighted to see his face become used in a variety of digital applications through the use of Intel’s program 3DMe.  

“Basically it takes a scan of your face in 3D and plasters your likeness onto an avatar,” explains Hopewell.

“That avatar can then be jammed into all sorts of outfits and scenes for you to share with your friends.  First, I was turned into a ginger Ghostbuster. Because I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.”

While the technology will certainly find its home amongst gamers who will surely enjoy placing their own face on their video game characters, the RealSense will also usher in a new era for Makers who are looking to create depth-sensing objects such as robots that are capable of learning their environments or even a variety of applications that utilize a 3D scanner.  

While we don’t know exactly what the future holds for the Real Sense camera, it’s surely a welcome addition to the many 3D technologies that are available to consumers today.  Currently. there are 25 different PCs, laptops and tablets shipping with RealSense support, with more coming later on in the year.

As for the smartphones, Intel has managed to embed a RealSense camera into a 6-inch Android phone - which means that the era of 3D scanning smartphones is that much closer to reality.  Considering that we can even remotely monitor and control our 3D printers from our phones now, it’s starting to look like we’ll be able to create 3D printed replicas of objects just as easily as we take smartphone snapshots.

Could the RealSense camera be the beginning of an entirely new, 3D tech-enabled future?  It’s starting to look like it.  



Posted in 3D Scanning


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Mark wrote at 3/6/2016 2:59:34 AM:

Just a thought, ChameleonSocial's 3DCity has been doing this for years :-) www.chameleonsocial.com Well, maybe without scanners.

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