Among billions of devices in the world, 3D scanning on smartphones can make 3D scanning a technology that many people use daily. More importantly, the native 3D scanning function allows us to sculpt objects out of thin air or customize objects through simple applications.
Now, 3D scanning on mobile phones has been achieved to some extent. Apple’s new iPhone supports many scanning functions, which may have a huge impact on us. Software support for STL and object recognition through 3D scanning will also have an impact. In terms of hardware, the neural engine of the A14 chip will make machine learning applications possible. The chip also has 30% graphics performance and faster image processing speed, which will be very convenient for scanning applications.
The TrueDepth camera supports facial recognition. In 2017, this is a structured light scanner using an infrared projector. At the same time, on the other side of the ApplePro model, we can see three cameras (main camera, wide camera and telephoto camera) and lidar. Lidar is a 3D scanning technology that is most commonly used for objects the size of buildings or rooms. Apple seems to want to deploy it to truly bring augmented reality objects into our living rooms, or to enable room-sized scanning applications. It has a time-of-flight scanner that can accurately measure distances and capture scenes within 5 meters.
For Apple, it will be very important to be able to move realistically in a game environment and try products in a virtual environment. At home, as long as you can see how big the TV you see on the Internet, or can virtually see whether your new standing desk is suitable for your house, it can have a very big impact on e-commerce. Virtual fittings can also have a huge impact, as online buyers will return approximately 40% of the clothes purchased online.
At the same time, the level of detail required for 3D printing may not yet appear. The number of points may not be enough. It is not clear whether we can extract a point cloud or how to fix this point cloud will work.
Currently, for Apple, ultra-precise measurement and scanning of the space will open up the entire AR world and provide many functions in the app, such as: trying new paint colors, calculating the number of wallpapers needed, suitable for a new kitchen , 3D scanning and eBay objects, calculating actions, singing with FrankSinatra, placing yourself in movie scenes, 3D emojis, etc. Because the virtual and application functions are so powerful, Apple’s main attraction seems to lie in space, not necessarily with high accuracy for softball-sized objects. With commercial advantages mainly in terms of spatial accuracy, we may find ourselves a neglected Cinderella in 3D printing. With e-commerce, the successors of augmented reality and gaming have acquired all the technologies aimed at them.
Better “augmented reality” or the lead based on “augmented reality” games may become the future of the game industry, and Apple will certainly not miss it. Let us not forget that there is another very important reason for mobile scanning on mobile phones: to improve selfies. Although we often think that we are the center of the world in the field of 3D printing, better selfies and better pictures are a huge victory for Apple that will make them more competitive when competing with Samsung and others.
Although there is currently no comprehensive 3D printing support, there are many ways to solve this problem, and they are very fruitful. With the improvement of computing power and the success of generative learning, it is likely to achieve more. This software can help clean up and rebuild files to make them watertight and versatile for us to print. Eventually, someone will be able to extract enough details from the AppleiPhone scanner to print, which will allow many people to unleash their creativity. However, we can now do some joint roads that may actually lead us to the world of 3D printed Apple phones.
Although we are not sure that this will solve the problem 100%, in general, although we may not be able to extract many 3D printed images from the iPhone LiDAR data immediately, it is still possible in the end. In the short term, for certain high-contrast materials and objects, plus good reference objects, we can use this technology to perform 3D scanning on certain 3D printable objects.
In the past, people were always guessing when or whether to apply 3D scanning to mobile phones. In this regard, when Apple acquired several 3D scanning companies and Google’s Project Tango, endless discussions arose. But as the discussion about the acquisition of PrimeSense in 2013 attracted much attention, the acquisition of LinX in 2015 caused a lot of speculation. The TrueDepth camera will change everything in 2017, and ARKit has always excited us because of object recognition and image reconstruction. It will also benefit 3D printing.