Backpack Uses Lasers to Render 3-D Models of Building Interiors
Thanks to technology like Google Earth, you can visit places with a few clicks and keystrokes. But Google Earth uses GPS to create 3-D maps of locations, which means you can't venture "inside" the structures to really get a feel for the space.
That could soon change. According to a report by San Francisco's ABC News 7 (catch it after the break), professors and graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a backpack that uses lasers and cameras to render textured 3-D maps of building interiors. It's the first piece of equipment that can generate textured 3-D models without human intervention. As you can see in the video, the user just straps it on, and walks through a building while the lasers and cameras fire in multiple directions. After you finish roaming around, the backpack will generate a 3-D model based on what it scanned.
Avideh Zakhor, a professor behind the project, already envisions making the technology small enough to fit on a belt. Seems like the next logical step, because, by the looks of it, you'll need to be in good physical shape in order to carry the scanner around at its current size, which wouldn't be great for peeping the inside of, say, cramped pyramids. [From: ABC News 7, via: Engadget]