Handheld Scanning for Architecture Gets Real….Google Enters The Picture

project-tango-google-mapping-outThe jigsaw pieces are starting to fill in with google’s Project Tango , and the structure.io sensor.  Capturing existing buildings has never been an easy task, as much as the purveyors of existing scanners would like you to believe otherwise.  Current laser scanners are expensive and the process was usually too much, too much effort, too much expense for most projects.  Additionally, since the entry price was so expensive and each scanner has its own proprietary software, lack of open standards slowed innovation; but here comes handheld devices starting at around $400, and an open source universe that lets a universe of people to start working on current problems. Paracosm working with Project Tango looks like it has come up with a crowd sourced platform to put together fuller models of buildings from multiple people/scanners.

From the videos and data, and although everyone admits it’s early.  A regular Joe can walk with a handheld scanning device and capture their world.  Allowing for the crowd sourced, user generated 3D mapping of the world.  Besides the eery feeling that the Matrix was more prophetic than fiction what can be done with all this cool stuff, what’s next?

It will be in the processing of this data and digestion of it that will make it launch to the next steps.  Typically the hurdle of laser scanning is going from scanned data, to data that people can use.  Think of scanning this stuff….cool.  To floorplans and 3D walk throughs for realtors.  So if a realtor can take a $300 handheld scanner, walk around a home or apartment, and have it simply turned into a walk through tour and dimensioned floor plans of a home, excellent. Share those floorplans with a carpet installer for a price, great.

Before scans and point clouds were expensive to attain it looks like the price is about to drop dramatically.  Dramatic price drop, easier to attain, increased supply. Increased supply, bigger market. Bigger market, more people. More people, more better.  We are just at the start.  There will be a lot of companies starting to fill in ways on how to capture and deal with this data and since the world spends about $8 trillion on construction alone there will be room for players.  You’re invited.


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  1. #1 by Gerald Vonberger on October 23, 2014 - 1:22 pm

    That’s pretty impressive. Handheld scanners have been making their way into all sorts of industries. First the retail industry, then the cinema industry and now the architecture industry. They can do a lot of amazing things, so I can see the appeal that all of these companies have toward them. http://www.aerosoft-usa.com/products/

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