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Microsoft Stitches Together Cell Phone Photos to Create 3-D Models

3-D Model
Microsoft researchers have whipped up an impressive new cell phone app that turns camera-phone snapshots into 3-D models. The app is similar to Microsoft's Photosynth, which stitches together images to recreate 3-D environments. But Photosynth simply created the illusion of 3-D; this new project actually analyzes images, and maps depth by comparing how objects appear in different photos.

Creating the model is as simple as walking around an object while taking pictures. Larger objects, such as a car, can require up to 40 images, while smaller ones, such as a guitar or a cake, can need less than 20. Those shots are sent to that mysterious place known as "the cloud," where they're analyzed and pieced together to create a (relatively) seamless 3-D model. The model can be downloaded and explored right on the phone. (Swiping your finger around spins the model.)

There is also a browser plugin (which, we suspect, is based on Silverlight) that will allow users to share and post the models online. That could come in handy for online auctions, apartment listings and insurance claims. When exactly consumers will be able to play with the new tech isn't clear, but we can tell you right now that we're excited by it. Let's just hope Microsoft shows iPhone and Android owners some love. Check out a video of the app in action here.

Tags: 3-d, 3d, 3dModeling, apps, cellphones, microsoft, photography, top