Microsoft's new technology: a simple modification, cell phone camera suddenly become 3D depth camera

Microsoft's research group demonstrated a very powerful new technology at SIGGRAPH conference, just by simple modifications and machine learning techniques, ordinary 2D camera on the phone or webcam can be converted into 3D depth camera. Not only reducing costs and technical barriers, but also making 3D applications development easier. 


Today, even if there is a camera on everyone's phone, but they are rarely able to capture the three-dimensional contour objects like depth cameras. Imagine that, if we mount a depth camera with optical technology, perception and the ability to track the outside movement on a hand-held device, the phone can capture everything from the streets to the layout of the living room, what an amazing creation! It not only allows developers to create games and applications  with better interactive experiences, but also really play a role to help and guide visually impaired people. 


First, they remove the near-infrared filter which is blocking the optical signal, and adds another filter only allows infrared light to pass through, so that the camera can sense light in a brightness range. Meanwhile, the camera is also set around a circle of low price, low-power near infrared LED, to help the camera to identify the target object, thus, an ordinary camera is successfully modified to an infrared camera. 


Microsoft team said, the main advantage of this technology is a reflection intensity of infrared induction, just like things happen between the flashlight and sonar signals in a dark room. Light will react to the surrounding objects, and return the appropriate brightness to the sensor. When the object is closing, they will be brighter, and when the object is farther away, it will darken.