Laser-Firing Backpack Creates 3D Maps of Building Interiors

Online map services like Mapquest can take you to the doorstep of a building, but what do you do if you need navigational help inside a building? A research team at the University of California at Berkeley responded to that need by creating a backpack-sized device that instantly creates 3D models of interior spaces:

Grad student Nicholas Corso dons a backpack brimming with lasers and cameras. As he hikes the hall, the lasers scan everything from floor to ceiling and the cameras capture a panorama.

"The idea," explains Professor Zakhor, "is that you wear a backpack, you walk inside the building. You're done. You push a button and out comes this model."

The model is textured (covered) with the photographs.

The team is also behind the technology that creates 3D views of major cities on Google Earth. So, why not fly into the buildings and not just around them? The outdoor version relies on GPS but you can't rely on GPS indoors. So, the team in the imaging lab combined a new breed of miniature laser with an inertial management unit (IMU) like the ones that guide missiles.

Video at the link.

Link via DVICE | Image: KGO-TV, Screenshot by DVICE

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