Artec 3D announced a new version of Artec Studio 15, the software that drives their popular handheld 3D scanners, and there’s a big surprise in this release.
Artec Studio 15 now includes a new AI engine that enables a massive increase in effective scanning resolution for the company’s Eva and Leo handheld 3D scanners, with a special mode they call “HD”. How much? They say it doubles the previous resolutions, and that’s quite incredible.
“Artec 3D is the first and only company to utilize deep convolutional neural networks to reconstruct 3D surfaces and improve the quality of 3D models. With HD Mode, users can create exceptionally accurate, low-noise scans of smaller, more detailed objects with complex surfaces, as well as large, intricate objects. HD Mode is free and available now for all Eva and Leo users via Artec 3D’s latest scanning and data processing software, Artec Studio 15.”
But how does this work? It seems that most 3D scanners simply take the information provided by the sensors and collate it into point clouds that are processed using standard techniques. While the Artec 3D scanners still create point clouds, they are processed by the AI engine to create a new representation that is at higher resolution.
This is quite amazing, as this is being done to objects with arbitrary geometry. Most advanced 3D scanning systems that are able to recognize objects must be trained on a particular type of object, and then are specialized to process them.
In fact, Artec 3D has some significant experience in this regard. They have in-house AI experts that have been doing work on face recognition, apparently for one of their other products. They say their team even assisted with Apple’s development of FaceID. But that is a system trained to recognize faces, which, geometrically, are all pretty similar with a given set of features and general size parameters.
Artec Studio 15 AI Engine
Generic objects that a 3D scanner might encounter can literally have any imaginable geometry, so it is difficult to imagine how Artec 3D was able to train their AI engine. I’d speculate to say that perhaps they trained the engine on a series of small structures, like holes, corners, smooth surfaces, curves, etc., and thus the AI engine recognizes combinations of them that are subsequently knitted together to form the final 3D scan.
Artec 3D’s CTO, Gleb Gusev, said:
“With the help of in-house developed training techniques and CNNs, we’ve managed to squeeze more information from the same amount of data captured from our existing 3D Eva and Leo scanners and get a much richer and denser representation of the scene being scanned. Now we’re able to receive up to 64 times more measurements from the same scanners, which more than doubles the resolution of the final model and significantly decreases noise. Another advantage of our new approach is the much more accurate reconstruction of the surfaces this technique provides compared to standard algorithms.”
By “measurements”, Gusev means the density of the point cloud, which is essentially a large collection of points in 3D space where the object is supposed to be. It is perhaps the most important factor in creating a high-quality 3D model. The denser the point cloud, the better you can interpret where the structure actually exists. They explain further:
“When an Eva or Leo operator turns on HD Reconstruction, they can look forward to scans with unparalleled degrees of resolution, coverage, and detail. They can also select the desired density for HD scans, from a standard 1X all the way up to an astonishing 36X for Eva and 64X for Leo. To experience the benefits of HD Mode, users must utilize computers with NVIDIA GPUs and 2 GB (Eva) / 4 GB (Leo) of video RAM for proper scanning and data processing. NVIDIA is the Artec 3D recommended graphics card brand for Artec Studio users.”
That last point is critical: the software uses GPU processing elements to power the staggering workload of the algorithm, and NVIDIA’s graphics cards have the best interface for doing so. Many 3D software tools use similar approaches, but it sounds like you’ll need a beefy graphics card to make full use of HD mode with Artec Studio 15.
Artec 3D HD Mode Cost
Oh, one more thing: how much does HD mode cost?
It turns out, absolutely nothing! For users of the Artec Studio, the upgrade is provided at no charge. This means that anyone with this equipment will automatically gain access to HD mode.
If they have the right graphics card, that is.
Via Artec 3D