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You simply can’t have 3D printing without a 3D model. The digital modelling side of the industry is a core aspect that can present some headaches, especially for capturing objects. While 3D scanners still cost upwards of $30,000, enterprising developers are coming up with cheaper alternatives. One such company is Standard Cyborg, a start-up that’s touting it’s new Capture app as a solution to the average 3D scanning enthusiasts object modelling woes.

The Capture app can use a smartphone camera and sensors to create 3D models and shift them to augmented reality. With the backing of Y Combinator, Standard Cyborg wish to put “a 3D scanner in every pocket“, as they explain it.

While currently the company only uses it on the iPhone, their website states that it can use android equivalent versions of the TrueDepth iPhone feature. The app is free, however, it appears to currently work with the iPhone exclusively. It requires the TrueDepth camera and laser scanning system in newer iPhones (iPhone X, XR, XS, and XS Max). With the phone’s camera it then employs the use of a photogrammetry process, i.e. converting 2D to 3D. 3D cameras can be expensive, but the iPhone itself is more than significantly cheaper.

3D Scanning With a Phone

The process appears to work quite a lot like that of a panoramic photo but with a video-like process. It requires the user to go around the object and create a video as the software also maps out the depth of field using a point cloud system. As the user goes around the object (or turns the object) to capture every side using the front-facing camera of the iPhone, the app generates a model.

It takes a while to get the exact model down but once it’s ready, the capture app can export it as USDZ, STL or OBJ. Users can also activate AR mode, where you can preview how the scanned object will look in a real-world environment. The app also includes intuitive ARKit-based room measurement and resizing features.

The current app is a bit basic and limited in terms of devices. However, the company are improving it soon, adding a color AR mode among other features. Standard Cyborg also have their own software development kits, so other developers can implement similar functionalities to their apps. The idea is still in its infancy, so we’ll be sticking around to see how it develops from here.

Featured image courtesy of Standard Cyborg, via Youtube.




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