Featured Media Resource: [VIDEO] “3-D Mapping Your World With a Backpack” (KQED/QUEST)
Hyper-realistic video games. They’re made using a technique called 3-D mapping. In the real world, 3-D mapping indoors is much more difficult than 3-D mapping outdoors. The solution? A 3-D mapping backpack. Next up: your smartphone.
If your smartphone could work like the backpack in this video, what interior spaces would you 3-D map – and why? #DoNow3DMap
How to Do Now
Do Now by posting your response on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Flickr, Google +, etc.
Be sure to include @KQEDedspace and #DoNow3DMap. Remember: Back up your argument with supporting evidence. Link to legitimate sources that support your view.
Learn More About 3-D Mapping Interior Spaces
If you own a smartphone, you’re probably all too familiar with Google Maps. Not only can you see a map of your surroundings, but that little blue dot keeps track of your location as you move around. Your phone can track your location using GPS. It works great when you’re outside, but if you’ve ever tried it indoors, in a mall or large building, you’ll find that the tracking feature doesn’t work well. GPS can’t be used indoors.
In the world of digital mapping, simultaneous localization and mapping—SLAM—is the method of constructing a map while simultaneously keeping track of location within the map without the use of GPS. If a digital device can SLAM, that means that it can track location indoors.
For years, scientists struggled to create devices that could 3-D map indoors and SLAM. To do it well requires advanced software and hardware to work together. After nearly a decade of research, Dr. Avideh Zakhor, an engineer at the University of California, Berkeley, and her graduate students were able to create a backpack that could produce fast and realistic 3-D maps of indoor environments and track location. Using cameras, laser scanners, and specialized computer software, the backpack could SLAM really well.
Dr. Zakhor initially envisioned her backpack being used for search and rescue. First responders, armed with her 3-D mapping backpack, could enter collapsed buildings and 3-D map it, allowing subsequent rescue teams to better plan rescue missions. It also shows promise in other areas, like real estate, where you could walk through a house with the backpack to record the layout, and energy audits of buildings, where you could equip the backpack with an infrared camera to measure heat loss.
Right now, your smartphone can’t SLAM, but in the near future, a version of Dr. Zakhor’s technology will be widely available in digital consumer products, like smartphones and tablets. This year, Google will introduce Project Tango. It combines 3-D motion tracking with depth sensing to give your smartphone the ability 3-D map and SLAM.
How could you use this technology? Let’s say you’re tired of the furniture in your bedroom. Using your Tango-enabled smartphone, you could create a 3-D map of your room. Then you could hop on the internet and take different pieces of furniture that have also been 3-D mapped and “virtually” place them in your room, giving you an idea of how the furniture fits in your space before buying it. This process of adding digital layers of information on top of the physical world is referred to as augmented reality.
There’s also the Structure Sensor which is available now. It’s a small 3-D mapping device that attaches to your iPad. With it, you can play and create immersive 3-D games. Imagine a game where the walls of a castle were actually located where your walls were located!
And those are just fun ways to use the technology. 3-D mapping may prove to be a valuable tool in the legal process. Some police forces are using 3-D scanners to virtually map crime scenes, allowing investigators, jurors, judges, and lawyers to inspect the environment from almost any angle.
As 3-D mapping technology gets integrated into more and more devices, the limiting factor won’t be the technology — it will be your imagination.
Article: Interior Mapping Camera Will Make a 3-D Model of Your Home (Wired)
A Bay Area start-up is betting that you’ll want a 3-D map of your house.
Video: NASA | LIDAR 3D Mapping (PBS)
See how NASA plans to use 3-D mapping to map the surfaces of planets.
Video: Career Spotlight Spatial Interaction Engineer (KQED/QUEST)
Alex Okita teaches computers to “see like we see.”
Article: 3-D Mapping of Entire Buildings with mobile devices (Phys.org)
Generate a 3-D map of a building quickly and in real time.
Do Next takes the online conversation to the next level: these are suggestions for ways to go out into your community and investigate how the topic featured in this Do Now impacts people’s lives. Use digital storytelling tools and social media to share your story and take action. Make sure to tag your creations with #DoNow3DMap.
- Create a Video: Using your smartphone and a free editing tool like WeVideo, make a 30-second video stating what you think the best use of 3-D mapping is. Provide supporting evidence for your belief.
- Post a Poll: Put together a list of 4 or more uses for 3-D mapping. They can be uses discussed in this article or uses you have thought of yourself. Then, use an online tool such as polleverywhere.com to create your own poll to find out what people think is the best use of 3-D mapping. Post your results, along with your analysis, on social media.