We don’t need to tell you how huge 3D is nowadays. From 3D printing to 3D goggles, viewing and manipulating objects and data in the third dimension has taken off in a big way, no doubt helped by the vast improvements in processing capability of PCs and mobile devices.

Now, Heuristic Labs has come up with a new device that uses laser technology to take accurate 3D photos of scenes and objects. Named LazeeEye, a portamentau of “laser” and “eye”, the device attaches onto a phone and augments its camera. Together with stereo image processing software, LazeeEye gives the phone depth-perception similar to a human pair of eyes.

More specifically, the existing phone camera is used as a passive light sensor, and an additional laser emitter is used to project light outwards onto the scene. This laser light is patterned in a special way, and the phone camera detects both, ambient light as well as the reflected laser light. By comparing with a pre-calibrated reference image, the depth data is obtained out of the composite image captured by the camera. This process is illustrated in the image below.

Diagram of the workings of LazeeEye

Diagram of the workings of LazeeEye

According to Heuristic Labs, the following is a list of potential applications for LazeeEye and 3D scanning:

  • Capture models of objects or people for 3D printing or CAD modeling
  • Make absolute 3D measurements from the photo – for, construction and remodeling, interior design, clothes shopping, etc.
  • Remove objects or people outside a given depth – eliminate “photo bombers”, remove the background scene from photos, replace the background scene
  • Change the angle or lighting of the photo after the fact
  • More easily perform a variety of photo editing (“photo-shopping”) effects, with the aid of the image depth channel
  • Implement augmented reality games, or play existing augmented reality games

Currently, Heuristic Labs is looking to crowdfund LazeeEye, with a target of US$250,000 by May 31. If you are interested in owning one, why not head over to its Kickstarter page?

Also Read: Meet Lix 3D Pen — the smallest 3D printer in the world