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3D face scanning using Windows Phone being explored by Microsoft Research

If you don't love Microsoft Research then you don't love ice cream sundaes or anything else good in the world, because who else is busy figuring out how to make Windows Phone scan faces and build 3D models? So what if they call it "Skynet UI", what bad could come of this?! Zhiwei Li, Richard Cai, and Jiawei Gu are even sharing their work on the web, making sci-fi look just a little more real. Here's the abstract:

3D scanning on portable device is a technology that empower people turn physical objects into high-quality 3D models with the normal RGB camera capturing on mobile device and support for 3D printing. The Skynet UI design aims to enhance user experience to lower the barriers between common consumers and 3D reconstruction

Video above. If you want all the scientific details and a ton more pictures, hit the link below. Then tell me — how awesome would this be as part of Windows Phone next?

Source: Microsoft Research (opens in new tab)

Rene Ritchie has been covering the personal technology industry for almost a decade. Editorial Director at Mobile Nations, analyst at iMore, video and podcast host, you can follow him @reneritchie on Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter.

170 Comments
  • For what purpose?
  • Well with this technology and the 3d printing of Windows 8, a user can print out google glasses and be super cool. Lol. But seriously I have no idea what the business case for any of the items/functions above are for. Maybe facial recognition in a cell phone. But then why? Lol
  • Maybe business need of NSA
  • Need 8.1 no more photo app
  • It can be used for rendering. It'll make a game designer's job miles easier/faster. (at least if it can be as accurate im assuming it'll be.)
  • Put your face in a game? Upload it and put it in fifa
  • You could already put your face in a game with rainbow six Vegas via the video camera
  • To put your printed face in a frame I guess
  • This could be used in a medical setting for creating external prosthetics. Medical imaging of internal body parts is currently being used to print 3D models for use in planning complicated surgeries, and to create custom artificial joints.
  • I think I would want something created from a full laser imaging system to go on my body vs Bob the janitor's cell phone.
  • "my body vs Bob the janitor's cell phone." Bob the janitor's cell phone is way better than your body any day so it would definitely be an insult to use it to service your body.
  • its seems able to use in many areas.. entertainment, medical field, security maybe...?
  • So all the females can download and print it out and make out with my gorgeous mug
  • People asked the same question when the 3D printers started showing up.  Now people are predicting the 3D printers could potentially start another industrial revolution with their fast expanding use in many fields - medical, manufacturing, etc.  The 3D printer prices are coming down drastically.  The Micro 3D printer, a Kickstart project, claimed to be sold in the $200 range.  The 3D scanner is required to generate the 3D images which can be output to the 3D printer.  For example, 3D Scan yourself and produce a scaled down statue of you on the 3D printer.  :-)  Or scan any object of your liking and make a duplicate of it on the 3D printer.  I sure like to have a 3D scanner app on my Lumia.
  • Off of the top of my head, I'd say scanning objects for 3d printing, integration into Kinect sports for a more realistic avatar and use it for esports, and maybe even using t for interactive games like Project Spark games where kids could sscan in their favorite toy and pay with it in a game. I could see it used for school work for creating videos for plays, ibooks((interactive books). There's an endless range of posibilities.
  • If all these ideas come true.. Save a lot of time for graphic gaming designer :)
  • Wow. Today has been the slowest WPC news day ever. By far. No offense.
  • That's how the weekends are man. They got to have days off too ya know!
  • It is the quiet before the storm. Hang on to your hats starting at midnight. Well done WPCentral.
  • They r preparing for tomorrow :')
  • It's shocking how many people here comment on this. Some people don't seem to have a concept of what a weekend means for the majority of us.
  • including you, good sir.
  • Perhaps because it's Sunday? On Sunday people rest. Like God. Or lazy people.
  • so entitled. go outside.
  • Who's excited for tomorrow?
  • Rumor has it, tomorrow is launch day for Windows Phone 8.1 through the Developer Preview program. Oh the excitement.
  • It's the WEEKEND!!!!!!!
  • I agree with you but they need a break too on the weekend.
  • Is that a joke? There where many days slower, hehe ;)
  • First world problems... WPC should post more... dude go for a walk.
  • Slow news day? LOL, just give us 8.1 already!!
  • Patience.
  • Is a
  • Virtue. There do I get a cookie now? Please? Or WP8.1
  • I'll give you WP8.1, just tomorrow, as I'm busy now. ;)
  • What do you mean? It was released last night. It's a slow news day because we're all playing with the new features.
  • Pffftttttt
  • 8===Ð~~ ~ *fap*
  • lolwut ^
  • Hi René, good to see you here :)
  • Thanks!
  • Rene - Which windows phone do you use once a while? Posted via the WPC App for (Does it matter)!
  • My pleasure :)
  • Would be cool if they implemented this for Xbox avatars somehow. A bit like the Kinect Sports Rivals game scans your body to "cartoonize" the user.
  • The 3DS has been doing this since day one. No reason why a phone cannot. =P
  • It's shit on the 3DS, though, I have one.
  • i find Mii Maker fairly decent in feature matching. But yeah, it's cameras suck big time. Idk why nintendo constantly choses low-quality camera's. DSi was better than 3DS for petes sake. But enough on Nintendo. Hopefull MS Research gets far enough along to release some kind of Beta app.
  • yeah i have used it, but it's results are just ok. obvously it's not for the same purpose :)
  • Then*
  • It's also as of 4/13/13, not 4/13/14
  • Wrong anyway
  • Am I the only one who's checking wpc every few minutes hoping to see the 8.1 available news?
  • Let tomorrow be the day!
  • Nope... I'll admit you are not alone :)
  • not that belfiore said it wouldnt be out this week or anything
  • Uh... Wouldn't your phone tell you before WPC?
  • Nope, Daniel has a bet going to be the first one!
  • Yep. And the bet is on the post coming from him as well.
  • Will be there on wp by next build
  • Facial/retina scan to unlock phone maybe??? THAT...would be a game changer.
  • Yes! Android has face unlock, we want that too! We also want picture unlock, like Windows on PCs have!
  • Exactly!
  • Android face unlock is, or at least was, a toy. i remember it could be fooled by a photo originally.
  • Skynet huh? Prepare for another trademark violation lawsuit from Sky Broadcasting.
  • No! From T1000.
  • Haha.. Expecting the same...
  • Did they REALLY call it Skynet UI? That's way too creepy. I'll be over here digging my bomb shelter for the coming "judgment day" (tm)
  • Skynet.  Terminators don't care about copyrights!
  • How about they use the image to create holograms? Future is here.
  • CORTANA 2.0 OMG IT WOULD ALL COME FULL CIRCLE
  • or maybe even be a full human AI hologram just like Halo.
  • Perhaps your lost girlfriend? Too bad you didn't 3D her :p
  • Lol:D
  • Cool!
  • 1st sentence: then*
  • When is the iPhone 6 coming? :)
  • Sheep in a wolf's chlothing
  • You mean the iPhone 2006? Its outdated OS that never gets updated?
  • Hence why it's at version 7, clearly never gets updated.
  • Haha, they seriously called it Skynet UI? xD Crazy! Still, love the concept. Can't wait to buy s future Windows Phone with this technology.
  • +1020
  • WINDOWS. PHONE. EIGHT. POINT. ONE. DEVELOPER. PREVIEW. NOW!
  • Take it easy bro or else u gonna poop :-)
  • Nah. It sounds like he's having an aneurysm.
  • Coming soon from google.... Another thing Ms will be late on... Go cortana
  • U want you fase in DDD in WinFone? Two words: Morfo. MORFO! Searchit, baby! MMOORRFFOOOOO!!
  • Sshhhh....it's dark and you'll wake the neighbors
  • Morfo is terrible. Just sayin'
  • It's 14 of april, where is the update?
  • Wait until it's April 14th in the US, since MS is based here.
  • Lol i haven't tought that xd, sorry!
  • GMT is da way
  • Cool , when we can get Windows Phone 8.1 ? Next year or to night
  • As tense said, wait until it's 14 of april in US
  • This is at the same time incredibly awesome and incredibly creepy. I mean...I like the tech...but I can see it being used for things that cross the privacy line far beyond the admissible. 
  • Wait till you see Google do it.
  • I wouldn't be surprised if Glass was already prepared for something like this...
  • That's mean 15 April on my local time , Microsoft you must take care to these point because now your platform it international not only local to US
  • Well Microsoft is from US, so really they don't care about International time
  • 'murica!
  • I bet they have a tem ready in case something goes wrong. So they should be ready by midnight 14 just for you? woow, you must be a VIP :p
  • Damn it, i can't wait for wp 8.1 .
  • I check this app religiously lol its a shame. Today has been slow but like some people say they need days off to.
  • From midnight up to 3am for nothing better to go sleep goodnight everyone
  • When will this app be available????
  • Tonight
  • NEVER AS I WIPED THERE MEMORY, WITH THE FORCE!
  • their :D
  • I can see the medical profession finding use cases for this. Alsio would make sense if it could be brought into the construction industry.
  • Hey all.......IT'S. MONDAY❕❗❕
  • Not until it is in USA. Its atleast 17 more hrs
  • It's. Monday.
  • it's Monday here, though, in my country. BUT, MSFT's Headquarters is at Redmond, so you must wait 17 hours (or 14 as I posted here) more to get it.
  • I think there is something going on tomorrow... Not sure though. :)
  • I could use this. I've got some plastic prices that broke in my car. I could scan them in with this then print them out. That is, if I still had access to a 3D printer.
  • Cool no more hiding! Now the secret society of aliens that run the globe can build a datbase of faces to create clones to replace human worker bees that no longer co-operate blindly. Just kidding!...(or is he?)
     
  • Cool, but it's just a series of photos (gyro stabilized) sent to a cloud service for the processing. Still want it though! Definitely great for games or even tele-presence.
  • I am glad this was brought back to our attention. I was sort of wondering if there were anymore advancements to this project. I am impressed this could be working. Alas no new information but this is a good way to drum up publicly for these projects that, I feel, should be released. Even if its just a beta product it can showcase what WP platform is capable of. Photosynth is fantastic too, wish they would provide a massive update for that too. Maybe they could roll this project up with photosynth into one app...
  • Dat face
  • >>Patiently waiting for Windows 8.1
  • Big Brother Is Here.
  • ITS ONLY 8:45 HERE IN NABOO!! FUCKING TIME GO FASTER! AND WERE DA FUCK IS MY LIGHTSABOR I GOT SOME BITCHES TO KILL!!!
  • i am disappointed that nobody has mentioned anything about this technology being used for "sexy time" purposes :p
  • 3D tits is the future! There goes the strip club industry.
  • Dude, now I see why Joe wanted to slap the fuck out of all you morons that keep talking about WP 8.1 preview. He simply stated in the tweet "the beginning of next week" that could mean any day before Wednesday technically. I'm just as excited as the next guy but all this spamming the articles with this shit has to stop. Go fuck a goat or something for a day or two. Shit.
  • Someone's mad..
  • Not mad, annoyed. When you go to an article and actually read it and then scan the comments to see what people are saying about it and then find random comments about things NOT related to the article in any way, shape or form (in this case, WP 8.1 preview) it's extremely annoying and moronic to say the least. I'm sure the authors get annoyed by this as well. Like I said before, I'm excited for WP 8.1 preview as well but there is no need whatsoever for users to keep posting about it on unrelated articles.
  • I'm afraid you'll have to get used to it, that's what WPCentral is all about. If it's not WP8.1 it's 512mb devices, or paying for apps, or no xbox live. I swear some people must have a text file of generic whine responses for pasting within any given article.
  • Oh trust me, I know. I've been a user for a few years now ;) It's just particularly annoying me more with this topic than any other lol.
  • But what about Instagram???  Wait...pasted from the wrong text/whine file. OK, OK, OK, But what about file manager??? Yup...the new moron on repeat whine.
  • Noice
  • It's 14th Apr here on Brazil. What about US?
  • Dude...OMG. Still a few hours away man.
  • How many?
  • About 12 hours more California there will be 8am
  • Don't these things usually happen at like 10:00am Pacific?
  • Almost 1 hour until midnight. Mother of god.
  • Please don't ever use Skynet in any name, its not a good idea haha
  • Where is wp 8.1????
  • *Slap*
  • It's 14th April,  9:20Am in India, (Excited about wp 8.1 update) ________________________________________________________________________________________ Mircrosoft Research is pretty amazing. They always look for something new and useful. _______________________________________________________________________________________   I don't know how much wait we should have to do !! 
    I think windows phone updates are very slow, they postpone their date a lot,  They think and add lots of features in phone when it comes to updates other operating systems are one step ahead of them, when it comes to release an update other os comes with that and new other features !!!    
  • is the developer preview update worldwide? or just for the us? Chile is waiting!
  • World Wide :)   
  • Update plz
  • Bc update kb doge. 8.1 bol k dhoka de rae ho
  • how many people are searching for the update right now in their phones just because of that weird language... i think a lot!
  • Do u know what BC stand for
  • Nothin so far..
  • Great! I would also like to see it integrated with Cortana, so that way I can use my GF's 3D model as Cortana
  • BC = Sister fu*ker right?
  • Yeah ;)
  • YOU GUYS HAVE TO WAIT TILL IT'S MONDAY IN MURICA!!!
  • Where's murica?
  • I think it's a small country on Mars
  • Where's my preview?!
  • Bc update WhatsApp also......whatsapp is more crucial for me than 8.1 update....so update WhatsApp and 8.1 fasttttttttt :/
  • everyone patent your face like right now  
  • It's not necessary that we'll get it today, for example; According NeoWin Microsoft were going to give the software to their hardware partners (OEMs) in Monday 14th April. So if that's the case we'll probably get it tomorrow (that is if MS don't delay it any further). Also Joe Belford said that check for update in the early next week, so what I am saying is that it is possible that we won't get Windows Phone 8.1 update today.
  • Why is the wp central keep silent??
  • True Story Till now WP central didn't commented or posted anything regarding preview...
  • Next week means till sunday... Wtf wp8.1 plz say confirm date and time also.. Fu*k off.
  • Is it 8.1 already? Dafuq.
  • Just got a small update. Must be a huge sign to wp 8.1 preview. Cant wait!! For tomo.
  • after like approximately 2 hours later all over the world it will be Monday 14 April so maybe then we get something :P Hope for the Best..
  • https://www.evi.com/q/what_time_is_it_at_microsoft_headquarters guys here you will found exact time @ microsoft hq. Wait patently, it is day 14 but it's like 50mins after midnight now
  • Mr Ritchie, you want to rewrite the first sentence of that second paragraph. It's a mess.
  • Skynet? :o History repeating itself? :p Except it all starts here :) They should be doing this to Cortana! :) Maybe is for her to recognise us from every angle...
  • That is a little creepy
  • Wtf
  • Ftw