Kinect 3D Scanning Technology Opens Up New Worlds, LiterallyBy Kadley Gosselin October 5, 2011
The XBox Kinect has transformed gaming with gestural control but its greater value may actually lie in its 3D scanning ability—which, in turn, allows it so serve as a 3D modeling tool. KinectFusion, a Microsoft research endeavor, debuted at SIGGRAPH in August. It demonstrated how this technology can serve as a real-time scanner, using an algorithm called iterative closest point (ICP) to merge data from scans taken at 30 frames per second. The scanned data can then be projected, suggesting a wealth of opportunities for 3D modeling—at a fraction of the cost and complexity of existing 3D modeling systems.
Applications for KinectFusion range from obvious applications like gaming environments to retail and criminal justice. The system can model anything it scans: crime scenes, furniture, even people. Just last week Microsoft filed a patent for an idea, which uses the Kinect’s scanning technology to digitally measure the proportions of a user’s body, and estimate age based on those measurements. The estimated age could then be used in combination with content ratings to control which games, television programs, and movies users are seeing and playing. It can only be assumed that this sort of system also has greater implications, such as as user recognition and respective content customization.
Image credit: Charles Hutchins