Science

Kinect Fusion: 3D Scanning For Xbox 720 And Windows Wows TechFest

By Pierre Dumont , Mar 07, 2013 04:53 PM EST

Microsoft has shown a demonstration of Kinect Fusion, a new version of Kinect for Windows (and probably Xbox 720) that will allow scanned objects to be recreated into 3D digital models.

The display of Kinect Fusion came at this week's TechFest in Redmond, Wash., held by Microsoft annually; this year from March 5 through 7. Microsoft's foray into 3D scanning and printing does not come as much of a surprise, given growing interest in the two areas, and the company expects these features to be available for Windows and Xbox users in the near future.

It appears that the updated device will operate through C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism, accelerating the carrying out of C++ code through the implementation of data-parallel hardware often found in GPUs.

"Normally when you think of Kinect, you think of a static sensor in a living room," says Microsoft Research Cambridge's senior researcher Shahram Izadi. "But with Kinect Fusion, we allow the user to hold the camera, explore their space, and rapidly scan the world around them."

Despite touting the technology, Microsoft has not until now been able to fully implement object scanning technology. Microsoft demonstrated an early version of the Kinect Fusion technology at E3 in 2010 but the feature never quite took off after the sensor's launch later in the year. Microsoft again trumpeted the technology at E3 in 2011 by introducing Kinect Fun Labs. No games, however, really took advantage of the feature. It's possible that limitations caused by the Xbox 360's hardware may be to blame.

Microsoft has shown sample demonstrations of Kinect Fusion to familiarize developers with 3D scanning technology. TechFest itself was originally an insiders-only event, but outsiders can now attend the conference to see a variety of interesting devices yet to hit the market.

Kinect Fusion was announced in November and Microsoft's willingness to discuss the technology at TechFest means it may not be far away.

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