Matterport develops tech to scan the physical world in 3D
At the Silicon Valley-based company, CEO Matt Bell and co-founders Dave Gausebeck and Mike Beebe are developing a consumer-friendly system to capture physical environments into three-dimensional images with the use of a handheld scanner and software.
Sumi Das: At Silicon Valley based Matterport, Matt Bell and his cofounders Dave Gausebeck and Mike Beebe are inventing new technology that captures the physical world in 3D. To make it work, they're using this patent pending 3D scanner and software. Matt Bell: You wave around a handheld scanner, and the handheld scanner captures 3D snapshots of the world and then our software automatically stitches those snapshots together. Sumi Das: For example, say you wanted to scan a small size room, hold the device and start capturing objects in the physical space. Florence Shaffer is an associate with the company. Florence Shaffer: As you're taking these scans, a realtime model actually comes out and the point of this is that you want to be able to see where the holes are, where you haven't scanned so that you can go back and just paint those areas if you want to think of it as spray painting and making sure that you get every object that you really want. Sumi Das: The software allows you to scan any part of the room in any order. Bell likens it to a giant 3D jigsaw puzzle with 1,000 pieces. Matt Bell: As you do a scan, you can look at the display and see the 3D model of the space around you coming together. Sumi Das: When the model starts appearing on the screen, it's still a work in progress. The next step is to take the pre-model, send it up to the company's private cloud for processing, then voila, a high res, 3D image of a physical space. Bell believes the technology could be a game changer in a variety of fields, anywhere people need to document a 3D space. Matt Bell: So that's architects, construction companies, remodelers. There are millions of people in the U.S. who work with 3D spaces and objects on a daily basis. Sumi Das: The system is definitely high tech, but it also has limitations. Want to capture a model of the outside world? Not yet. Or how 'bout a really small object? Difficult to scan. Still, Bell says, these are temporary bugs. The technology will get better over time. Ultimately, Matterport wants the device to be as easy to use as a point and shoot camera. Today, 3D capturing systems cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and it's a challenge for businesses to get access. But Bell hopes to make it cheap, fast and consumer friendly. Matt Bell: The sensors are going to get smaller and more integrated so some time in the next two to five years, I expect to see 3D capture devices in tablets so then everyone with their iPad 5 or whatever else could just pull that out, do a quick 3D scan and then share it with the world. Sumi Das: For Smart Planet, I'm Sumi Das.