We are still at the bleeding edge of the 3D capture technology. Even though LIDAR has been around since the early 60’s, commercialization of it remains small. Its projected market for 2018 is $515 million. What does that tell me? That’s ridiculously low. For perspective Facebook’s market cap is around $200b, EA Sports, the game producer for ubiquitous gaming technology is around $12b. Those are single companies not an industry. The total market for LIDAR, that is 3D capture of real objects is going to be $515M in 2018. Something else needs to happen to bring 3D to the main stream, and what’s happening now is the introduction of light weight inexpensive 3D sensors from a who’s who of technology companies. A partial list and by no means exhaustive.
- Intel Real Sense Technology
- Project Tango from Google
- Structure io
- Kinect from Microsoft
- Meta io
- Autodesk 123D Catch
- Acute 3D
- PrimeSense – Acquired by Apple
And from the way back machine:
Pong, the granddaddy of all video games was arguably the first commercial/consumer success of the gamification of a piece of hardware and its enveloping logic, in the case of pong it was TTL (Transistor – Transistor Logic ). So what’s important to note here is the players now involved in the introduction. Intel, Google, Microsoft, Apple…….. We have the introduction of the hardware and their SDK packs for developers. The next stage will be most interestin; .the software, the games, the apps, the big easy. The other technology beyond these new sensors and LIDAR in most use; photographs. Right now I see in the market a lot of people taking pictures of statues or people, turning them into a 3D Digital object and then maybe printing them out on a 3D printer, I don’t see that as a viable business model, personally I don’t want a 3D printed object of anyone I know and to me it borders on ventriloquist dummy creepiness. However, we need to go through these stages to get to whatever breakthroughs and or commercial successes there will be in the future.
3D printing is moving rapidly, if not into the mainstream, into real uses. The 3D printing market is estimated to be $16.2 billion in 2018 comapred to $2.5 billion in 2013. That is 30x the expected LIDAR market. Why? Companies are printing machine parts (cars, airplanes, etc.) there is movement toward biological printing of food/meat and body parts. So really the mass customization of things where before making one of anything could cost thousands of dollars. I recall prototyping parts through CNC machining or SLA cost at a minimum hundreds of dollars and for bigger parts easily thousands and up. At back to school night this year they had amakerbot set up in the High School lobby and would print out key chains with your initials for a $5 donation. Holy What? Really? How about 3D printing a partial titanium skull to help someone after the original was smashed in an accident. But 5 bucks for a custom printed 3D object?
So what’s the next step in the 3D scanning world now that people can start getting them in their hands for hundreds of dollars, opposed the LIDAR systems that start around $50K. You and your friends scan your house and drop it in as a map pack for Call of Duty. 3D virtual tours of the Louvre. 3D estimating of car damage…….I’m really not sure but I am sure there will be plenty of people working on it. Making the capture and use of 3D easy, that will be the magic trick. Why you might want to is a bigger question. What do I need 3D data for? For real estate? Who is ever going to buy something without physically seeing it. To quote a commercial broker when I was doing some biz dev, “I get them in the car and show it to them…” Remember the broker business is intensely personal so A) they want technology to help them not replace them and B) I am not sure having great 3D imagery is going to sell it. Maybe as part of the tenant fit out allowance they get 3D Design services, or as part of the negotiation you show them what it could look like with their allowance…..I would be really interested in what people think about this subject beyond it’s cool.
For something cool, check out the video posted for Mok3 above, Yonald and his cohorts had figured out a way in 2003 to take pictures and turn them into 3D environments., the world is still catching up.