Use an iPhone app to take 3-D pictures of your face

Taking 3-D images of your face and then printing it is now possible with an iPhone app!
Written by Boonsri Dickinson, Contributing Editor on

What you're looking at is a 3D picture of my face! Click here to get the full animated movie:

I used an app called Trimensional to make the model.

I turned the lights off in the bathroom, set my iPhone 4 screen to full brightness, and pressed the camera button. After about 15 photos, I decided all of the models looked kind of strange. My eyes popped out. It seemed like the program could only capture only part of my face.

No doubt, this app will need to be improved before it can truly represent how we look like in 3-D. Currently, it works by shinning four different lighting patterns on your face and uses the device's front facing to take a photo. What you get is a 3-D model that you can zoom into and look at from different angles.

Grant Schindler, a research scientist at Georgia Tech, created the app to take advantage of the iPhone 4's front-facing camera. The app was released in January.

Schindler said in a statement:

“Once we get scanners in everyone’s hands, you should be able to use these images for any use you can think of, replicating physical objects by sending your scans to a 3-D printer, or creating a perfect digital substitute to take your video calls when you’re not looking your best. Or you could put it on your World of Warcraft character, or use it in other games.”

The app costs 99-cents. Anyone with an iPhone 4, iPad 2 or iPod Touch can use the app. Once you're done playing with the app, you can actually email animated videos of your 3-D models to your friends. Or for a little more money, use an upgraded version that will let you import the 3-D videos to CAD programs or 3-D applications.

Usually, the equipment to do this would normally cost about $4,000. However, the method isn't new: It actually was developed in the 1980s. Now, it only costs as much as a cup of coffee.

Here's a commercial for the iPhone app:

hat tip to Popular Science
Source: Georgia Tech news room / Photo: Rob Felt

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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