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Samsung unveils new Galaxy Note 10 model with “instant” 3D scanning capabilities

Samsung has unveiled its Galaxy Note 10 line of premium smartphones one of which comes equipped with 3D scanning capabilities. Described as a “groundbreaking first for the Note,” the Galaxy Note10+ is installed with a DepthVision camera, allowing users to scan objects for instant 3D rendering.

Samsung demonstrated the 3D scanning technology at the Note 10 launch event, where it was used to create photorealistic 3D model of a pink plushy named Bobby. At the unveiling, the Samsung presenter explained that the scans can also be used to make copies of the object in a 3D printer. 

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 mobile phone. Image via Samsung.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 mobile phone. Image via Samsung.

ToF camera on the Samsung Note10+

The DepthVision camera implemented in the Note10+ operates using Time-of-Flight (ToF) 3D technology. ToF scanning measures the distance between the camera and an object by recording the time it takes for a beam of infrared light to reflect back to the camera. The depth of a scene is then captured and mapped using this pulse of light. 

On the Note10+, the DepthVision camera’s ToF capabilities is limited within a 10x10x10cm by 80x80x80cm radius, and consists of two sensors. In order to utilize the 3D scanning on the Note10+, users are required to download the 3D Scanner app from Samsung. 

During the demo at the launch event, Samsung’s DepthVision camera was used to scan the “Bobby” plush toy by pacing around it. The 3D Scanner app includes a circular guide on the screen, instructing users to keep the item within that area of the phone and helping them point the camera in the optimal direction for a 3D scan. Once the user walks a full circle around the object and captures all angles, the phone produces a 3D model of the object. 

As well as using the scans for 3D printing, they can also be used as movable AR 3D renderings within videos, and can be made to imitate users’ movements with body tracking. You can watch a video of the live demonstration below.

3D scanning in smartphones

In 2015, Google unveiled its Project Tango smartphone that housed Intel’s RealSense 3D scanner. Since then, various companies specializing in 3D scanning have been creating apps and devices to turn your phones into more advanced 3D scanners. New Orleans-based mobile scanning specialist Scandy, for example, created an external ToF camera that could plug into mobile phones and turn them into portable scanners. The company also used the Tango augmented reality software platform from Google to create an object scanning application for smartphones known as Scandy Pro.

Now, many of the latest and high-end smartphones are being released already installed with ToF 3D scanning sensors. Alongside the Note10+, Samsung has also equipped a ToF camera on its newest Galaxy S10 model, whereas Chinese mobile phone developer Huawei implemented it in its flagship P30 Pro. The next-generation iPhone is also rumoured to have ToF 3D cameras as well. 

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Featured image shows the Samsung Galaxy Note10. GIF via Samsung.



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