A Georgia Tech Research Scientist, Grant Schindler has created "Trimensional," an app that uses the iPhone 4, iPad 2 or most recent iPod Touch to take 3-D scans of faces or other objects. Now in the latest update, users can also e-mail animated videos of their 3-D models. For a few dollars more, artists and designers can even export their creation to CAD programs or 3-D applications, such as Maya.
Trimensional works by using the iPhone's screen to shine four different lighting patterns on the subject while also using the device's front-facing camera to snap photos. It produces a full 3-D model that you can zoom into, pan around and view from any angle.
"You can just have fun with it, or if you work with 3-D models, you can use it professionally," said Schindler, a research scientist in Tech's School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing.
The concept is relatively simple. The subject or object is photographed in a dark room with light from different part of the iOS device's screen. Those images are sewn together to form the image in 3D. From there, you can either email a movie of the subject or print it out on a 3D printer.
The new pro upgrade for Trimensional (available as an in-app purchase) will also send a file that you can use any 3-D program to open, so artists and other 3-D professionals or hobbyists can now use this $5 app to perform a task that used to require hundreds of dollars worth of equipment.
"There are professional, $40,000 3-D scanners out there; this won't perform like those do, but for anything under $100, this is your best bet," added Schindler.