Webcam + sunshine + time = 3D model of your world
- Category: Technology News
- Created on Monday, 03 September 2012 11:07
- Written by Carol Balanag
WANT a detailed three-dimensional model of your house or back garden? Just stick up a webcam and wait. Current 3D models of outdoor places, such as those seen in Google Earth, are typically created using laser scans or painstaking manual measurements. But anyone may soon be able to make one - using just daylight, time and a webcam.
Google generates the 3D models that populate Google Earth by using a fleet of camera-equipped planes that fly over cities snapping photos. The program also lets users create their own 3D models of local buildings and upload them. Those models are kept simple to ensure that Google Earth runs smoothly. The researchers' models, by contrast, capture minute detail. In some cases, we can even capture the 3D structure of individual shingles on a rooftop.
The new method cannot handle sudden changes in depth, however, such as a building with a mountain behind it in the far distance, because it calculates depth by comparing neighboring pixels on the webcam images. The best models would result from combining the system's data with other techniques that are able to more accurately capture broader structures.