Sure, your friends may have been laughing (and slightly scared) back in April when you embedded class II lasers in your checkbones and told them Matterport’s 3D scanning IS THE FUTURE, but now you’ll be the one prepared. News of the Mountain View based, Y Combinator startup raising $3.9 million from a whopping 39 Investors hit over the weekend, proving the team’s idea of fast, highly accurate 3D scanning is attracting attention and providing more insight to the direction they’re headed.
What’s the Matterport?
Matterport took its inspiration from the scanning capability of the Microsoft Kinect. In fact, it uses the same PrimeSense sensors used in the Kinect. The very same 3D sensors that will bring Kinect-type capability, hence scanning capability, to mobile device. For Matterport, digital models of interior spaces is the focus. From the Matterport blog:
Our goal with Matterport is to allow people to communicate in 3D — the tool should fit the task, and people who work with physical spaces should have communication tools that express the full 3D richness of these spaces. We want people like the woman in this article from Co.Design to be able to take the spaces that inspired her and directly share them with her architect. Together they can play with these spaces, trying different combinations and changes until they create the perfect house.
With this funding and their latest website updates, they’re targeting two markets–people who need scans and people who want a scanner. They began with a handheld version, demonstrated last year. The results looked great, but since then they’ve tabled the handheld and opted for the tripod-based option “in order to make scanning quick and easy.” This latest video, shows the results and ~1″ accuracy when scanning a typical room.
I’m slightly saddened that they opted for the tripod-based scanner rather than the handheld scanner. There’s something much more exciting about virtualizing your reality with your hands, as you walk around it, over setting up and leveling a tripod from multiple positions. There’s the Armada concept that leaves us hopeful, but for Matterport, the tripod option is perhaps a first step to wider acceptance and an easier step with the current technology for best/fastest results without having to stick tracking balls all over the capture area. Still, I have no doubt a handheld version is in the works. From CEO, Matt Bell,
Primesense makes the 3D sensor that provides the raw data into our system, and they just announced a much smaller sensor that can go into mobile devices. This means Matterport’s capabilities will eventually end up on every new cellphone and tablet, and we’ll have millions of people making 3D models of their homes.
Scanning via mobile device? Are you ready?