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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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  • Archaeological sites (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24, 2014 @08:54AM (#47082593)

    ... for one example. for others:
    Broken parts.
    Design with the parts on hand.
    Historical buildings and sites.
    3d printer corrections.

  • 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.

    • 3D printing will need to get to a higher quality before home users will get involved. Much higher resolution in the pieces. Maybe a variable print head so that material can be made smaller or larger as needed.

      What gets me is if the tech is small enough to go into a tablet. Then it is small enough for a drone. Add in a laser range finder and you could scan and map a house quickly. Military would like that. However remodeling homes and businesses would love it. Tie the output into the unreal engine and you c

      • by Rei ( 128717 )

        Professional 3d printing services already have quality in spades. As I wrote elsewhere, I've used iMaterialize, and there was absolutely nothing lacking in quality, it was very professional (pricing on metals could certainly use improvement, mind you, and their wait time definitely does... but there's no shortage on the quality department). Go to google images and punch in the name of some of the big 3d printing services and take a look at what people are making or use some of the manufacturers' galleries w

        • More likely we will see a mixed market - just as you do in 2D printing. Most people don't want to set up a printer for digital prints - it's a hassle and requires some level of skill and involvement. Others might find it worthwhile.

          I doubt 3D printing will ever be ubiquitous in the home / SOHO space, but there will be plenty of professional services, ranging from simple to wildly complex. There will be multiple price and quality points that will change over time. I have a pretty high end printer for pho

          • by Rei ( 128717 )

            At least for metals, I think it's going to be a good while before it's practical in the home. Most 3d metal printing is lost wax casting, which means that you're actually dealing with casting molten metal, and all the hassle that entails to do it right. iMaterialize has one direct printed metal tech - laser sintering of titanium - which yields great results but it's super-expensive and slow. I don't think your CNC milling machine is in any danger of getting kicked off of the workbench any time soon ;)

      • 3D printing will need to get to a higher quality before home users will get involved. Much higher resolution in the pieces.

        Have you used a modern 3D printer? The resolution is much better than even a few years ago. The quality is very good. The reason home users are not involved is not quality, but the fact that most people actually have little need for custom one-off parts. Certainly not enough need to justify spending $1000 on a fabricator. Rather than a 3D printer in every home, it is more likely they will be available for on-demand use at Kinkos or Staples.

        • by Rei ( 128717 )

          Agree 100% with everything you wrote. Good 3d printing absolutely is here today. But to offer a full range of manufacturing possibilities - some of which require skilled labor in prep and postprocessing, and all of which involve real capital investment - it's quite fair to say that home 3d printing is not here except for a very tiny subset of users.

          The day where every town has at least one convenient place you can go that will 3d print stuff for you with a wide range of options and excellent quality may not

    • The Home View idea could be nice for the real estate industry.
  • Mmmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:14AM (#47082637)

    I'd scan my school interior, post it to a 3d-shooter site under my nemesis' name and wait for the cops to show up at his door.

  • that way google will know what i eat all the time and advertise accordingly

  • I would definitely love to see this used in porn, I just don't know how yet...
    • by Thruen ( 753567 )
      Combine it with this [] and dreams start to come true, scan yourself in first for added realism and then move on to scan in women you want to have virtual sex with! Obviously they'd need some method of simulating the nude version of a woman, as it's unlikely you'll find many willing to undress for a 3D scanning, but the future of cyber sex could be amazing. Amazingly invasive, too, but wouldn't it be worth it?

      Imagine, in just a few short years, I could be banging your wife!
      • Uh. Thanks. I think. Although I really should know better than to click on a '' link, I'm going to have to go rinse my brain out.

        No, it's SFW, just not .... safe. Sometimes these sorts of concepts should wait until later.

        • SFW. Let me clarify that. I'd really wait until you get home or at least somewhere no one is liable to scan your browser logs.

          Of course, the NSA already knows about your little perversions, so no worry there. It's your boss and the sysadmins that you have to worry about.

  • Besides 3d printing? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:35AM (#47082681) Homepage

    Setting aside what brand it might bear, how would you employ a portable 3-D scanner?

    You mean besides the fact that this would be THE enabling technology to finally make 3d printing a realistic option for average home users?

    If it works well enough (for example, would let you stitch together shots from different angles, so you're not just modeling the fronts of objects), think of what that would mean. Take your 3d image of, say, a broken part. Possibly apply a filter or two to it, like "Rust remover" or "Glue pieces together". Click "Share" like with photos on android, and you're given a list of everything that can take a 3d model. One example could be an email to yourself so you can print at home. Or, for most people, an app for companies like iMaterialize, or perhaps a new service owned by Google. Pick your material (metals, plastics, ceramics, rubber, etc) and other print options, possibly pay for a rush order if you need it fast... and you're charged as if buying a song, it's dispatched, printed, and comes right to your house in the mail.

    Another "Share" option could be a 3d model gallery (a "3d Flickr" or whatnot), with the default license set to public domain so anyone else can download. Suddenly there's a huge influx of searchable, free 3d models of almost anything you can imagine online. People could also restrict their models or charge for high-res versions of their models. Such a service could have convenient button to send an online model to a 3d printing service. Smart 3d printing services would keep track of how often given models are being downloaded and automatically launch the set up various degrees of mass production for the most commonly printed ones, lowering their prices. Anyone who expects high volume on a part could prepay for mass production setup. Basically, the difference between conventional mass-manufacture and custom user-created manufacture could practically disappear.

    The possibilities are endless. Widespread 3d model creation plus easy sharing = widespread 3d printing. It could be a game changer if done right.

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      of course by 3d this marking vomit really means stereoscopic and is absolutely useless outside of a gimmick

  • 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 djscoumoune ( 1731422 ) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @10:18AM (#47082803)
    Google's project looks very very low quality. There are already projects, like using the lidar from a vaccum cleaner neato xv-11 or from distance mesuring lasers [] There's another cool project that looks very promising for 3d scanning. It uses odometry and scans from 2 webcams. [] It's still early but you can download it in the video link
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by PrimeNumber ( 136578 )

      But its Google, so all of its fanboys in the tech press will shill the hell out it. Kind of like when Google announced it created its groundbreaking contact lenses -- they were actually developed at Microsoft, yet only a few journalists bothered to report that fact. Far easier to be a Google cheerleader.

      Google is getting too fucking invasive and creepy. Larry Page stated he wanted access to everybody's health records. Screw that.

      Hell I trust Microsoft far more than I do Google now, and that says something.

      • The coupling of Google and Android means that it has a better chance of being mass-penetration than a lesser-known or more hobbiest manufacturer. Would it be useless to a lot of people, yeah probably. However, if they can produce it cheaply enough so that it's included in consumer-level equipment by default, then it helps reach the critical mass between applications, hardware, and improvements.

        Mass availability of hardware = more applications using hardware
        More applications using hardware = improvements har

  • Home Depot stuff.

    Any parts catalogs, then go to that supplier and 3D Scan their products.
  • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @05:46PM (#47084515)

    Similar but less portable technologies are being used in just this way, to document existing structures, locations of electrical, plumbing, HVAC, networking cables, etc.. This location-based inventory is massively useful when planning and costing systems upgrades, particularly on campuses where there may be a complicated interaction of old and new structures.

    This is also used in nuclear containments, for similar reason. It is even more useful as operators generally have limited periodic access to the containment, for obvious exposure reasons. Having an accurate 3D model of the containment and locations of equipment would greatly enhance the ability to simulate accident scenarios and to plan for upgrade outages.

    The one hangup with these technologies is making the 3D models clean enough such they can be readily imported into engineering simulation software. In particular, CFD models of nuclear containments is complicated by poor geometry rendering (thin slivers of volume, non-planar surfaces, etc.).

  • Yeah, i would like to say that these things are probably a great source or creativity and enable next level of machine learning algorithms to understand life, but 20 years of internet made me a realist.

  • Oh - so now the thieves will be able to PIRATE 3D reality too!! At what dimension will a stop be put to the madness??

    You can't go around copying shit people. It infringes on to the rights of those that don't want you to be doing that!! So stop it!! Don't buy these things no matter what evil google would encourage.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.