Want to make eye contact during a voice chat? Try it in 3D.
We humans see our world in rich 3D. The best a simple camera can do is 2D, which means 2D is the best most computers can do. But that’s changing, and it’s going to change the way we communicate, create and consume content, and how computers see the world and support us.
What can technologists and engineers do with 3D? What can artists and content creators do? What can ordinary consumers do? We have seen it used for facial ID, and for select professional applications, but the possibilities go well beyond that and are practically limitless.
Smart vacuum cleaners will navigate a room by sensing exactly where things are rather than bumping into them. Cars will immediately recognize when a driver starts nodding off and bring the car to a smooth stop on the side of the road. You’ll be able to record the world around you in volumetric 3D – for a memorable wedding video; or a very lively, telepresence powered, good night chat with your kid while you’re on the road; or if you are a rock star, your fans all over the world will have the opportunity to be on stage with you, using AR on their smartphone or wearing a VR headset. That’s just the beginning of what’s possible.
Conventional 3D technologies have their strengths and limitations. Stereo imaging, for instance, requires multiple cameras to be spaced relatively far apart from each other, making it difficult to shrink the tech. It is also quite demanding in compute power. Time of flight cameras, meanwhile, measure how long it takes for light to bounce back to the sensor; although they can capture many frames per second, they may suffer from low resolution in close capture.
One startup – Mantis Vision – does 3D differently, with a technology called structured light. By projecting a special coded light pattern, using epipolar coding, Mantis Vision is able to identify far more unique points and gather far more information than you can get with other methods. Whereas normal structured light will send out one strobe and get a certain amount of data back, Mantis Vision is able to send out the same amount of light power and get four times as much data back on as many as 120,000 individual points – dozens of times per second – to capture 3D video of real-life scenes, with richer detail than we’ve ever been able to produce before.
This makes a significant difference when it comes to recording objects with high precision and in high resolution. Imagine draping a thick blanket over your friend’s hand and trying to guess how many fingers they’re holding up. Mantis Vision works more like a fine silk that conforms to the exact shape of the object, so you can get every contour and every detail of the textures that make our world so interesting.
But here’s where it gets really interesting. Mantis Vision has not only created a handheld 3D sensor, they’ve also shrunk their technology down to a low-cost component with a form factor thinner than 4mm – small enough to fit in a smartphone. Finally, 3D has the potential to go global.
At Samsung Catalyst Fund, we’re thrilled to have been investors in Mantis Vision since 2014. And we’re even more excited to report that we’re re-upping our long-term commitment with our participation in a new investment round. With this infusion of capital, CEO Gur Bittan and his team will be able to make further inroads in international markets, recruit top talent, and invest in the type of R&D that will help them achieve their aim of bringing 3D to every mobile device.
Soon enough, devices of all kinds will be able to analyze and navigate the world in ways that 2D instruments simply can’t. We’ll be able to engage and interact with 3D gaming environments taking the shape of the space around us. We’ll be able to see our favorite musicians perform as if we had front row seats. We’ll be able to communicate with one another in entirely new ways – as if we were physically in the room with a friend or family member even when they’re on the other side of the world. We’ll even be able to make eye contact during a 3D video chat.
Right now, we mostly experience our digital world in 2D. At Samsung Catalyst Fund, we’re glad to play a role in helping Mantis Vision take their technology from prototype to practically omnipresent, so we can all start living in a fully 3D world.
In the News
Samsung bets on Israeli camera Mantis Vision’s 3D camera technology – L’Usine Nouvelle
Mantis Vision Has Completed A $55 Million Financing Round – Globes Israel