Matterport shows off production 3D area scanner

Updated: GDC 2014: More cameras, HDR, and better software

Matterport LogoA year after SemiAccurate first told you about Matterport, they are back at GDC with heavily revised production hardware. What was an impressive way to do 3D scanning back then is now a salable, productized, good idea.

The idea is simple enough, take a very high rez 3D scanner, put it on a tripod, and spin it around to capture a 360 degree view of its surroundings. Add in some software to stitch it all together seamlessly, slap that on a server somewhere, and have it spit out a nice 3D image complete with the underlying mesh. It isn’t just pretty pictures, it is geometry too.

Production Matterport scanner

Matterport scanners, now with added handle!

The new Matterport scanner is much better than the old, at least better functioning. The old one looked like a nice white blob, kind of high-tech while the new one looks like medically functional footwear. OK, it isn’t that bad but it does lack elegance compared to the prototype, something more than made up for by the features, plus it has a handle.

As the keener eyed among you might have noticed, the new scanner has three cameras compared to the older version’s two. Each row has an RGB camera and a depth scanner so it will grab three sets of pixels with geometry at the same time. More importantly the software now stops the scan in six spots to take full HDR photos for stitching into the mesh later. With Version 1.0 you not only get mm level accuracy of scans, you get HDR pixels stuck to them.

Update March 26 2014 @ 3:30pm: Matterport is clarifying their numbers, they say that meshes are only accurate to an inch not millimeters. Also they only claim about 30 minutes for processing, not 15 as we said in the last article. Basically they are being conservative on what they promise, and that is usually a good thing from a company.

In short this new version is smaller, faster, more accurate, has better color fidelity, matches your army issued glasses, and has a 10 hour battery. It also doesn’t need external Wi-Fi now, it can store more and do more on its own, but still needs an iPad for uploading and handling data. About the only down side is that the new release costs $4500, more than the $3000 the original was aiming at. On the bright side, it is still $1500 per camera set, HDR is thrown in for free if you buy more than two.

Once you are done scanning the Matterport ‘cloud’ software will suck in your image and stitch it all together correctly. It costs $19/scan with up to 100 passes in an area considered one location, amazingly cheap compared to doing a subset of that manually. In short you can do a fair-sized building for one $19 fee and it will come back as a single coherent data set. Compared to anything else on the market, Matterport’s solution seems better in almost every way. I want one.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate