University claims vast improvement on Kinect with 3D scanning system

University claims vast improvement on Kinect with 3D scanning system
A team at Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering in the US believes it can give Microsoft's Kinect motion sensor a run for its money with a prototype 3D scanning system. Since its launch into the gaming sphere, Kinect has been successfully integrated into other devices over a variety of platforms, but according to the academic team, led by Oliver Cossairt, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, it has some fundamental limitations.

Cossairt’s team now claims to have developed a 3D capture camera that is inexpensive, produces high-quality images, and works in all environments—including outdoors after noting that Kinect does not work outdoors and produces relatively low-quality images.

The research and prototype development was supported by the Office of Naval Research and the US Department of Energy, and is detailed in a paper titled ‘MC3D: Motion Contrast 3D Scanning’, which was presented on April 24 at the IEEE International Conference on Computational Photography.

Nathan Matsuda, a graduate student in Cossairt’s lab, is first author, and Mohit Gupta from Columbia University is co-author and collaborator. Full details of the system can be viewed in the video above.

Applications range from augmented reality to manufacturing and the group has already received a Google Faculty Research Award to integrate its technology into an autonomous vehicle platform.

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