This is a pretty impressive tech demonstration from 6D.AI, a startup that's creating a 3D mirror world of real life from the input of standard smartphones.
"Building a 3D model of the world means fusing crowdsourced scans into huge models and here's a demo of that in action," 6D CEO Matt Miesnieks explains. "The model is a SLAM map, it improves [with] every scan and map coordinates are real world coordinates." In this particular demo, he goes on, "The ~5000 square foot space took 3 minutes for 4 people to scan.... these are regular phones, no depth cameras involved. Scans can be from one phone doing partial scans over many days, or lots of people scanning at once. The fused model will figure itself out and assemble based on any new scan that overlaps a previous scanned area."
The implications are pretty amazing and open-ended: This potentially means that, say, a whole city block could be slurped up and imported into a virtual world/MMO in a matter of days or weeks. And if the smartphone capture works as well as presented, the potential is far more staggering:
Get a few million people around the world using this app, uploading their travels as they go, and an exact mirror of the entire planet could be modeled in a year or two.
Hat tip: Philip Rosedale, who sees this as a huge breakthrough for mixed reality projects: "This is the key missing piece to make augmented reality useful," as he puts it. "Accurate positioning when indoors, by comparing volumetric scans to a stored database."