MobileFusion: Microsoft’s Research App Can Turn Your iPhone Into A 3D Scanner

Built as a project, Microsoft has eviently created a 3D scanning app “MobileFusion” for iPhone that might be the most powerful research available on a mobile platform right now. MobileFusion by Microsoft Research lab developed application that eventually turns an ordinary smartphone camera into a 3D scanner, allowing users to scan an object with a mobile device moving around it. The best part is that it doesn’t require any extra hardware to pull this off as all of the processing takes place on the iPhone itself, or any other smartphone, afterall.

Dubbed MobileFusion, the app has been available for your smartphone users for now, comes out of a project initiated at Microsoft Research. The MobileFusion system densely tracks the device in 3D by comparing the live camera data with the previous frames. Peter Ondruska, a Ph.D. candidate at Oxford University, and a former intern at Microsoft Research, says that “What this system effectively allows us to do is to take something similar to a picture, but it’s a full 3D object.”


In the real-time the app uses the phone’s own hardware to scan and render 3D images which are then readily available for 3D printing as well. Giving how 3D scanning has been an expensive game involving exorbitant machinery, it is amazing to see what a software code can unleash here. MobileFusion app has the potential to greately enable exploratory sciences, allowing enthusiasts to scan objects of importance in their surroundings. Better way yet, there’s no need for an Internet connection either as all the data required is available locally on the phone.


Experts suggests that scans from MobileFusion are of high enough quality to be used not just for 3D printing, but for use in augmented reality games as well. Further, the creation of the 3D model can be seen in the app in real-time and once ready they can be used for 3D printing and the technology works by taking several pictures of a subject and combining them into a single 3D object. This revolutionary app have been hinted at allowing users to scan items that they wish to sell online, sparking a whole new experience of online shopping. Shahram Izadi, who has worked on this project before, imagines that one day people would be taking photos of monuments and more while on vacations, and sharing them with their Facebook friends and Twitter, Instagram family.


Although, the researchers working hard to make it available for all mobile platforms, are currently trying to get MobileFusion run on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. The final version of the app still in the developmental phase of MobileFusion. No release date has been announced as yet, but it appears that researchers will be presenting the app at the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality this October.

(Source: Microsoft Research)