Sticking with what it knows, Toronto-based Matter and Form has created Bevel, an accessory that turns smartphones and tablets into 3D cameras. Unlike the 3D Scanner the team released last year, Bevel isn't specifically intended for creating detailed 3D models of objects for 3D printing or animating, but for capturing everyday events that can then be shared in 3D.
Bevel connects to iOS or Android devices via the headphone jack and allows users to capture three-dimensional images without much more effort than taking your standard photograph. The device packs an eye-safe laser which the photographer pans over the subject to capture depth information, while the mobile device's camera takes a photo as normal. The optimum subject distance is currently around 1 m (3.3 ft), the the team is looking to bring the capability to capture buildings and even entire cities in a future release.
The resulting image can then be viewed within the Bevel app and the company’s app, Cashew, which allow users to share 3D photos in places like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Images can be rotated within the apps to can get just the right angle and can also be turned into animated GIFs or saved to be used later in an animation or 3D printing project –although the team says it is still ironing out the details on exactly how 3D printing compatibility will work.
The choice of device to pair with Bevel will make a difference to image quality, with Matter and Form recommending a device with an accelerometer and a gyroscope, and Kit-Kat or higher for Android devices and iOS or higher for iOS devices. Bevel is powered by its own rechargeable battery so won't drain the mobile device it's connected to.
As with its 3D Scanner, Matter and Form has prioritized affordability with Bevel and has gone the crowdfunding route to raise funds to get the device into production. The company has passed US$120,000 on the way to the $200,000 campaign goal, with just over three weeks left to run. The minimum pledge amount to reserve a Bevel, charging cable, calibration card, Bevel app and access to Cashew is $49, with deliveries estimated for early next year assuming all goes to plan.