Both Google with Project Tango and Intel with their Realsense camera use complex and specialist hardware to create 3D models of spaces and objects.
In the above video we see Microsoft Research and Oxford University Researchers collaborate on a system which can do the same job using any standard smartphone, in real time.
Using only the normal phone camera, their system allows users to scan objects of varying shape, size, and appearance in seconds, with real-time feedback during the capture process.
Unlike other systems which only produce dense point clouds, their system, which uses a combination of CPU and GPU processing, produces objects with compelling, fully connected surfaces 10 times faster than other competing methods.
While the demo uses an iPhone, the technology can work equally well in any standard, off the shelf smartphone. The team hopes these new types of 3D scanning technologies will bring 3D acquisition to a new audience and make lightweight capture of the real-world truly ubiquitous. Hopefully we will also see this technology show up in our handsets at some point.
The full paper can be read here.