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3D Machine Vision on your iPhone?

3D machine vision technology is certainly not a new concept, but holding it in the palm of your hand is.

A new iPhone App allows users to detect patterns of light reflected off a face to build a true 3-D model. Though it’s not quite machine vision, it certainly is the first step in the direction of having machine vision applications on your Smartphone.  The app, called Trimensional, was created by Grant Schindler, a researcher at Georgia Tech, and it allows users to share movies and animated GIFs of thier 3-D scans, create physical copies of any scanned object on a 3-D printer, or import textured 3-D scans into popular 3-D graphics software.

To use Trimensional, iPhone4 users must first turn off the lights and then take a picture of the object they would like to see 3D using the Trimensional App. Trimensional uses the iPhone4 screen to shine light on the object from four different angles and take pictures with the front facing phone camera. For a video of the inventor explaining how this works, visit Conrad Holton’s Vision Insider blog post, where we first heard about this neat technology.

3D machine vision image line scanThe application of this iPhone app to a commercial or industrial use might be a little farfetched at the moment.  While it can create 3D images of any object, 3D machine vision applications in use in industry must be able to scan entire moving lines at quick rates, have large fields of vision and swift image building technology, and be tolerant of non-uniform light sources and shiny or irregular surfaces.

3D machine vision is used in industries ranging from human health (3D images of teeth for example) to industrial manufacturing facilities. Many common 3D Imaging applications include:

    • 3D imaging machine vision applicationsCharacterization of MEMS components
    • Corrosion analysis
    • Defect detection
    • De-palletizing accuracy
    • Global measurement of free surface deformation
    • Heat-flow visualization.
    • Logistics and packing tracking
    • Object shape/placement inspection
    • Refractometry
    • Reverse engineering
    • Size inspection
    • Slope/grade inspection
    • Surface roughness measurement
    • Thickness measurement
    • Verification of molded part
    • Vibration analysis


EPIC’s machine vision lab has completed several projects with 3D line scanning and 3D machine vision applications. From measuring slope, size and color to finding pattern defects our vision engineers have successfully applied 3D machine vision systems. To learn more about 3D machine vision applications from EPIC, contact one of our Machine Vision Engineers today.

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EPIC Vision Systems
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St. Louis, MO 63129, US