Imagine snapping a photo with your smartphone that you can step into. And once you’re immersed inside this 3-D photo, being able to walk around the space or fly above an open floor plan.
The technology isn’t quite available at everyone’s fingertips. But some Silicon Valley heavyweights are putting big money behind one startup that’s trying to get us there.
Mountain View, Calif.-based 3-D camera maker Matterport announced a $16 million round of funding today, according to venture capital database CrunchBase. The large round, which was Matterport’s Series B, came from a number of high profile venture capital houses including DCM, AME Cloud Ventures, Greylock Partners and Qualcomm Ventures. Other participants in the round include Lux Capital, Lux Capital, Felicis Ventures, Navitas Capital and AMD Ventures.
Matterport’s Pro 3D Camera sells for $4,500 and has sensors that are able to both capture the visual look and dimensions of a space. The associated iPad application then allows a user to generate an immersive, 3-D model of the space. Once the model has been generated, any user with access through a web browser can walk through and around the space from any perspective.
Matterport is working with Google’s Tango project and Intel’s Real Sense project, which are bringing 3-D sensors to mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. Beta versions of smartphones with first generation 3-D technology have been distributed to limited groups of developers and early adopters. “The future of 3D media is mobile,” says Matterport on its webpage about the partnerships.
While that’s likely true, the most immediately available application of Matterport’s technology is called Showcase and it’s for the real-estate industry. Showcase allows potential renters and buyers to walk through apartment and house listings from their computers (see example here). The technology also allows users to see the apartment from a top down perspective, as if looking at a doll house.