iPhone + Photos + 3D Objects = Yum!

I know. The photo looks a little funky. But it was taken with an iPhone yesterday just after Brent Hoberman from mydeco.com spoke at #DSDEVCON09.

I realize you may be confused. What’s that 3D chair doing next to Brent?

Ah hahhhhhh!

Well you see . . . Gerald and Stéphane from our R&D department have been busy developing some 3D fun for iPhone.

Here’s the story behind the photo:

3DVIA CEO Lynn Wilson asked Brent to stay onstage after his presentation and sit in the groovy black chair you see in the photo. Then Gerald whipped out his iPhone and took a photo of the scene and, from 3dvia.com, imported the 3D model into the photo.

So what?

Well think about it. You’re at home and want to talk home deco with your spouse. There’s a sofa model that’s caught your eye, but you’re not sure how it will look in your living room. So you use your iPhone to take a picture of your living room and import through 3dvia.com various 3D models of REAL sofas, i.e., sofas sold on mydeco.com. This is the closest thing to having the real thing delivered to your home to try-then-buy. Yet no trips to the store, no credit card downpayments, no delivery men in your house.

Do you like it?

With the help of Gerald and Stéphane, I made a modest little video that shows how it works:

Of course it can be used for frivolous means as well. Check out these snapshots Stéphane passed me:

Coming soon to App Store . . .



  • pascal


    Is the camera calibration automatic ( e.g. the users only need to define the scale of virtual objects ) ?

    I think that what’s missing for now and specifically for AR furnishing apps (potoroze.com , designmyroom.com …) is the lack of realism in the rendering quality of the virtual objects ( low res textures, lighting conditions and shadows casted inside the rooms are not taken into account) – Mydeco is OK but all the renderings are done on the server side and far to be real time.

    Also augmenting a single image is only the first step to a global AR solution meaning that the ultimate AR product would be a marker-less augmented video processor as demonstrated here:


    … quite impressive!

    Anyway good stuff.

  • Gerald

    The camera calibration is automatic indeed.
    You only have to adjust the scale, the orientation (around vertical axis) and the position of the object.
    With very few manipulations you do the job.

    I agree that the ultimate AR product would rely on a video based system.
    Unfortunately, at this time, there’s no legal way (ie that would pass Apple Approval) to capture the video stream in real-time (even on 3GS). Apple only provides an API to capture a photo or a video with no means for being called back within the capture process.

  • This is a cool app. My kids like me taking pictures of them with their favorite 3DVIA character models.

    This WILL be a BIG hit once released!

  • pascal

    Without getting into the technical details (no offense taken if you can’t answer) is this program able to perform some sort of interior reconstruction ( walls for example) or is the camera calibration just based on vanishing points detection ?

    And yes the impossibility to post-process the video reminds me the fact that it is impossible to directly manipulate an image with flash players for versions < 10 … this is quite a non sense as this dramatically degrades the user experience since everything has to be done on the server side.

  • Gerald

    3DVIA Mobile’s main purpose is to provide an easy and fun way to play with 3DVIA Models.
    Our in-house technology is capable of doing more than this app.
    We will be able to update it after its release on the app store and then add new cool features.

    So stay tuned for the future evolutions 😉

  • Thanks Gerald, I look forward to uploading 3dvia Mobile to my iPhone soon!

  • Rob

    The opposite might be very interesting as well. Suppose you are in the furniture store and want to see how that couch you are looking at will fit in your room. That will be a bit more difficult — but one needs to dream.

  • EJA

    Can anyone tell me when this App will be available? My collegues keep on asking me and everyone is eager to be the first one playing around with it!

  • Gerald

    The app is about to be submitted for approval very soon.
    Then after, it depends on Apple. Let’s hope an App Store availability for August.

  • If you want to view 3D models from the Google 3D Warehouse on the iPhone, try NaviCAD (http://www.navicad.com). Disclaimer: I’m one of the developers 🙂

  • Are you still targetting August to release this cool ap?

  • Axelle

    Great App ! I can’t wait to have it. Do you have any update about the release date ? Is there any preview for some users ? !!! Thx

  • Gerald

    **** It’s available TODAY and it’s free for a limited time ********
    So enjoy 🙂 :

  • admin

    The 3DVIA Mobile Challenge deadline is October 6. Win an Amazon Kindle!