Last, to last year, Microsoft suppressed the rumors and proved that still, they won’t give up on mobile development. Keeping aside its Kinetic-based 3D scanning solution, Microsoft demonstrated how high-quality 3D capture and modeling could fit into a mobile device.
The move is not entirely new: both free and paid apps already in iOS, Android and Windows markets were able to create shocking 3D models, which were extended to texture. Microsoft has not specifically told about its app (or camera feature?), But here demo single-handedly promises to contribute to the 3D scanning market:
Genuine 3D scanning
Nearly every 3D scanning app on the market offers the same 3 steps. First of all, the user should take approximately 15-30 photos of the object from different angles and upload them to the server. (Scann3D can not only take images directly through the app but can also upload the existing ones.) Then, to create a detailed 3D model, the backend of the app basically ‘stitches or join together all the images’. After that, the model will be ready to download (Trnio will also inform you about it).
From what Microsoft showed during the demo, they want their app to become a real, real-time scanner. Since the user circles the object, Microsoft does not take 3D capture images but analyzes the object on the fly and recreates the nodes for the future model. The only app on the market that uses liquid motion in the same way, this is a positive 3D, yet its own negative part, which will appear in the next section.
Although 123D Catch, Trnio, and itSeez3D are capable of producing quality 3D models, they rely heavily on a Wi-Fi connection and cloud servers. Occasionally, users have to patiently wait for their images to be processed and only 30 minutes later they can download 3D models from the server. That is if there is no error as a result of processing.
Unlike other apps, the Scann3D for Android provides on-device processing but it takes even more time to perform this. For approximately one hour, the device’s CPU will be fully loaded with the modeling task and won’t allow its user to do kind of anything else.
During the demo, the model that Microsoft’s app created was clearly processed right on the device, since the nodes of the image were rebuilt on the fly just like in Scann3D. Yet, unlike Scann3D, the model in the Microsoft app was ended in just 5 seconds. From the demo alone, it’s not yet safe that the app will guarantee such immediate results, but it doesn’t make any difference if we are reasonably optimistic.
Last year, at the Windows 10 Event, in the demo, Microsoft displayed a new camera app that allows users to create 3D content by scanning real-world objects. 3D created content can be then used in the new Paint 3D app. They demonstrated this upcoming app on the HP Elite x3 device. At that time Microsoft said that this app will soon be available on Windows Mobile 10 devices, and will also come in iOS and Android in the future.
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Although 3D capture was displayed on Windows 10 mobile device, Microsoft announced that this facility would reach all devices. But the statement had to face an “intolerant” question, “when”? from both iPhone and Android fans on Twitter with MicrosoftEvent hashtag.
Indeed, Microsoft has a perfect chance to justify the 2016 acquisition of Xamarin and to go with Xamarin development. Xamarin’s mono virtual machine can translate the native language of the Windows apps – C # – into the original code of Objective-C apps (for iOS) and bytecode executed on Android.
As a result of mobile development on Xamarin, all platforms will treat apps such as they were native. But the question arises, whether Microsoft will actually use Xamarin technology to bring their complex 3D scanning functionality to iOS and Android still stands.
As updated last year, Microsoft still intends to bring the app together in multiple platforms at once, but have not yet defined the release date.
It is no surprise that Microsoft’s 3D Capture App has soon become a hit among users of all platforms that it has received the official release date. Public interest in 3D scanning apps was proven at the beginning of this year when Snapchat acquired 3D Capturing App Seene to expand their image messaging offer.
However, apart from online networking, 3D scanning can be used for various purposes. Scann3 demonstrates one of the methods by successfully providing its functionality to real estate agencies who publish 3D apartment tours on their websites. It’s expected that Microsoft’s 3D capture will become a high-quality, time-efficient tool that will help to transform many businesses.