In the future, your entire photo collection will be on your mobile device. That is, if it’s not already. But that’s only the beginning. First, you’ll make people giddy with delight as you show them photos of yourself in comical situations, then they will gasp in abject horror as you hold them down, turn off the lights and scan their screaming face.

It’s madcap, photo scanning fun and PhloSoft is the first to make it happen with the Trimensional app on the iPhone. This is big news, because Autodesk is after the same technology with their Photofly photo scene editor product. Who will be the first to bring it into your models? Check this out and cast your vote…


The idea is simple. Take multiple photos of yourself and have the program stitch it together to create a 3-dimensional image you can view, rotate and share. Ideally, the app would allow you to export this data as an .STL, .STEP, .OBJ or another 3D compatible format to import into your model. Currently, Trimensional only allows you to save out or send images of the scan, but feasibly this data could be converted and sent as usable 3D data for print or model reference.

The app requires a front facing camera, so you’re out of luck if you don’t have an iPhone 4 or above. You can view the Trimensional user gallery to see what others are posting. Here’s an example of how the app is used and the results you’ll receive. The app is available for download from iTunes for .99. Grab your cat.

Autodesk Photofly

With Autodesk Photofly the idea is just a simple. Take photos of an object and have the program stitch it together to form a 3D data mesh. Currently, this program is only available as a Tech preview on the Autodesk Labs, but be looking for it to make its debut on mobile app very, very soon.

More than likely, with news of it coming out as a mobile app, you will also see it come with the ability to export 3D data to Autodesk products and (hopefully) in formats that can be imported into 3D printers and other CAD software. To get an idea of how Autodesk Photofly works, here’s a demonstration of a shoe scan. More videos are available on the Autodesk Labs site.

So, who will be first to export 3D data? The wee app developer or the 3D cad slappin’ mega-giant Autodesk?

Trimensional news via Shapeways


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.