If you want to do some 3D scanning, you usually have to get either a dedicated scanner or a less-than-elegant add-on. Microsoft Research and the University of Oxford think there’s a better way, though. Their MobileFusion project captures 3D models using only an app on your smartphone. The software scans objects by comparing image frames from your phone’s camera and creating stereo depth maps from the results — you just have to walk around an object to get more detail. It’s much like Kinect Fusion, but you’re not tied to either a PC or a clunky peripheral.
The resulting images aren’t so detailed that you’d mistake them for the real thing, but they’re good enough for 3D printing, augmented reality and any other purpose where a quick scan should do the trick. You could recreate a museum statue for friends back home, for example, or spruce up your eBay auction with a 3D representation of what you’re selling. While you can’t try MobileFusion yet, there are hopes to release it soon with support for Android, iOS and Windows.