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Google Rumored To Be Making 3D-Scanning Tablets 55

According to The Wall Street Journal, Google may be planning to commoditze 3-D scanning by building the tech of its Project Tango project (essentially, thus far, a phone-sized handheld with 3-D sensing capabilities) into tablets. The Register speculates: "Given that Google has already announced the Project Tango smartphone, it seems likely that it would extend the technology to tablets, and the seven-inch form factor would tie in nicely with the existing Nexus 7 design. ...Google is hoping that developers can build applications to use the scanning capabilities of the Tango hardware. Suggested topics include providing guides for visually impaired people, building gaming maps based on actual rooms, and possibly augmenting Google Maps with interior details – Street View becoming Home View perhaps?" Setting aside what brand it might bear, how would you employ a portable 3-D scanner?
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Google Rumored To Be Making 3D-Scanning Tablets

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  • by KitFox ( 712780 ) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:08AM (#47082617)

    After all the ruckus about street view accidentally peering into windows, I don't think "Home View" would be a good idea.

    That being said, the technology showcase demo indicated a relatively limited range. If they can overcome that - not dramatically mind you, but the ability to scan 10-20 meters instead of just about two or three - then the ability to build things nearly instantly into 3D space can be useful. Augmented reality situations also become much more immersive as the augmentation can react to its surroundings more effectively.

  • by elwinc ( 663074 ) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:36AM (#47082685)

    I agree, this could be used invasively, and I'm not in any hurry to show the world the interior of my house.

    That said, this could be incredibly useful in public spaces.

    For example, you get off a bus in New York's Port Authority terminal, 2 stories above ground, and you need to get on a subway to the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. It would be very helpful to have stairwell & corridor directions to the correct platform. Suddenly smoke starts pouring out the lead car train in that maze of platforms. It would save lives if people, not only on site up upstream from the affected area, were suddenly told to reverse course and clear the exitways. It could be like traffic for pedestrians.

    Another example:

    You have a factory full of pipes and valves and 2000 amp busbars and 440 volt 3 phase machinery. You've always painted your piping different colors (raw materials, steam, cold water, product, etc). Now you would like to be able to pay someone to build a digital model of the whole factory, including locations of every pipe, valve, switch, gauge, etc. The cost of building that digital model used to be prohibitive; suddenly now it's reasonable. With the digital model, you can plan improvements better, find potential safety issues, target repairs, etc.

    So yeah, I get that it could be invasive, and we need to make sure it's not. It could also be incredibly helpful.

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @10:02AM (#47082757) Homepage

    I don't know what 3d printing you've done, but I've ordered parts that I designed in Blender from iMaterialize and the results were excellent, and I would gladly do so again. My only real complaint about my first attempt was that they had trouble with my rather complicated model (they ultimately had to print it as two pieces and solder them together - but you couldn't really tell) and that their production process is rather backlogged. But I liked them because of how extreme of a variety of printing materials [] you can choose from. Even each entry there is usually actually several entries - for example, here's the options for silver [].

    As for 3D scanning, it's called taking two pictures. If that's "THE" enabling technology, you've got problems.

    No, the enabling technology is the software stack (and/or whatever accelerating hardware is included). If they're designing a 3d image recognition capability into the tablet, and it works well enough (the caveat I mentioned earlier) and is linked to an appropriate set of tools and services, that's a game changer.

    You're so naive.

    I'm sorry, I'm having trouble hearing you, your horse is too high.

    You're assuming it's just a visible part that's easy to print that's broken,

    I'm not making any assumptions about the task at hand, hence the wording "say, a broken part". You know what an example is, right? People want "things" all the time for all kinds of reasons. Some things they want are mass produced and readily available. Some of the things they want were once mass produced but are no longer readily available. Some were never mass produced. Such is life.

    and that people will have the skill, patience, time and tools to do something with it.

    No, I'm talking about a software stack that does the work for you, not something that pops open Blender on your tablet and says "Have at it!"

    Different 3d printing technologies and materials have different resolution capabilities, strengths, etc, but there's nothing at all unreasonable about being given a 3d model of a part and applying some simple filters to clean it up and print it out. Many 3d printing techs can handle details down to the level of fractions of a millimeter, so even fine screw threads are not a problem. And yes, I *have* printed out detail that fine (I made 1" a Orion medallion for my fiance with a detailed leaf trim around the edge, his name embossed in it in small letters maybe 5 millimeters long, hollow tubes allowing light to pass through the medallion it as stars, a neckband clasp, and with the inside hollow so I could fill it with sand from a location important to him, and - concealed within - more writing for him to discover should he ever damage it and see what's inside). Yeah, 3d printers can do some pretty amazing detail work now.

    What if it's your pedestal fan in summer and it just stops working for no visible cause?

    Wow, I am such an idiot for suggesting that 3d printing could fix every broken device ever invented!

    Wait a minute, could you remind me again where I said that, rather than just giving a broken part as an example of something a person may want to print? I can't seem to locate it anymore. But SURELY I must have said it, because otherwise you'd just be attacking a giant straw man, and surely you wouldn't do that.

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @10:35AM (#47082845) Homepage

    You're predicting some sort of major revolution when not a single thing has changed for years.

    Says a person who's never used 3d printing. Thank you, armchair expert, please lecture me some more about things I've actually used.

    Here, send me your address and a 3d model of yourself, I'll print you out (at my expense) a statue of you with your foot in your mouth and mail it to you so you can see the quality 3d printing has gotten to.

    Now, if your response is, "Hey, I don't have a 3d model of myself", my response is simply, "Gee, too bad you don't have a tablet that has a built in software/hardware stack for making 3d models"

    All of this except the speakers and amp is replaced by a laptop. So there is far less stuff that can break these days.

    Funny, I only have to open my eyes to see many thousands of things around me with replaceable parts. Are you posting from a sensory deprivation chamber or something?

    Then your silver example is quite entertaining to me, since the process is just making a mold to cast silver like a Luddite!

    Amazing, I never knew that Luddites 3d printed molds for silver casting. You learn something new every day on Slashdot!

    Hilarious! "LOOK! IT IS STAR TREK!" for making trinkets and baubles!

    Have you never actually looked at what most of the stuff people buy on Ebay is?

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming