Can we use cheap 360 degree cameras to create accurate 3D models and immersive virtual reality?

Raised of $2,600 Goal
Ended on 1/27/18
Campaign Ended
  • $106
  • 5%
  • Finished
    on 1/27/18

About This Project

Reality modeling algorithms allow the automatic generation of 3D models from photographs. Traditionally, algorithms are developed for “pinhole images”, which are the sensors in smartphones and cameras.

Nowadays, new 360 degree cameras are available. I will develop a novel method for accurate 3D modeling with cheap 360 cameras, which capture the entire scene around the photographer in a single shot. Results will be shared on a website to give people the opportunity to create virtual 3D models.

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What is the context of this research?

Standard methods for image-based 3D modeling are based on traditional cameras with a limited field of view, which require a large number of photographs acquired following specific rules. The other solution is laser scanning, but scanning sensors are very expensive (> 50,000 $).

My idea is to work with affordable 360 cameras. The 360 camera can be pointed to any direction and the very large field of view reduces the number of photographs. The entire scene around the camera is acquired in a single shot. Starting from some images (at least 2) acquired from different points, a 3D model can be generated in an automatic way. I am currently working on this topic and more results can be found in my paper.

What is the significance of this project?

I teach students advanced 3D modeling techniques in my daily activity at the university. I know the importance of accurate 3D measurements in several practical applications also in different fields: architecture, engineering, geology, archeology, criminology, etc.

Recording shape and size is a fundamental requirement in many disciplines!

The challenge is to provide photographers (equipped with an affordable 360 camera!) a simple and accurate solution for rapid mapping, with also a direct connection to virtual reality. 3 low-cost cameras will be tested to validate the method for 3D modeling. I will provide specific software that does not require expensive workstation and simple guidelines to replicate the process

What are the goals of the project?

The aim is to provide tutorials and datasets on a website. First, I will provide simple reports about the results achieved in terms of costs and metric accuracy. Tutorials will contain guidelines on the image acquisition procedure and processing. Results will be published online at two levels:

(1) a basic level for people interested in the proposed method for their surveying application

(2) an advanced level for surveying specialists

Tests will be carried out using consolidated solutions: total station and laser scanning.

I started working on this topic 2 years ago but several new sensors are now available on the commercial market. This has opened new opportunities for a wider user community.


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The money raised through will help cover these costs:

1) Buy 3 new 360 cameras: basic (100 $): intermediate (350 $): pro(950 $)

2) Create a reference dataset in our lab and test the 3 cameras using a dataset measured with a total station (200 $)

3) Create a reference dataset measured with a laser scanner to test the 3 cameras (600 $)

4) Setup a website to share the new tutorials, reports and datasets that will be developed in the project (400 $)

Endorsed by

I think that proposed project is feasible and project team is qualified well to perform that innovative research. Proposed technology is very promising in the light of nowadays cutting edge geospatial crowdsourcing and big data concepts. Project results can be deployed efficiently for multiple application scenarios.
I fully endorse this innovative project, which extends Dr Barazetti's impressive earlier research on automated image-based 3D object reconstruction and modelling from traditional frame cameras to 360-degree cameras, The outcomes of this project have the potential to significantly boost the prospects for comprehensive 3D model generation from inexpensive cameras by both casual users and professionals involved in both VR and application areas such as forensics, archaeology, architecture and animation

Project Timeline

28 Feb 18: Purchase equipment, setup webpage, setup total station test site (lab)

31 Mar 18: Capture 360 images of lab test site and conduct data analysis, setup laser scanning test site (Grumello castle) and capture 360 images

30 Apr 18: Conduct 360 image analysis of laser scanning test site

31 May 18: Publish on website (1) tutorial for 360 image acquisition and processing, (2) reports on metric accuracy for the different cameras

Dec 13, 2017

Project Launched

Feb 28, 2018

Purchase equipment, setup webpage, setup total station test site (laboratory)

Mar 31, 2018

Capture 360 images of lab test site and conduct data analysis, setup laser scanning test site (Grumello castle) and capture 360 images

Apr 30, 2018

 Conduct 360 image analysis of laser scanning test site

May 31, 2018

Publish on website (1) tutorial for 360 image acquisition and processing, (2) reports on metric accuracy for the different cameras

Meet the Team

Luigi Barazzetti
Luigi Barazzetti
Assistant Professor


Polytechnic University of Milan
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Luigi Barazzetti

I received a PhD cum laude in Geomatics and Infrastructures at Polytechnic University of Milan. Since 2006 I have been directly concerned with the 3D modeling work from images and laser scans. My research activities are based around surveying, photogrammetry and computer vision with terrestrial, aerial and satellite images, remote sensing and vision metrology.

I have had numerous papers published at international level. I like to teach advanced tools for 3D modeling from digital images not only to expert surveyors, but also to people interested in accurate measurements from affordable tools (mainly digital cameras).

I have worked in several countries (Italy, Canada, Jordan, Bahrain, Belgium, UK, etc.) during my participation to different research projects. I have participated to numerous surveying activities with modern digital tools based on photogrammetry and laser scanning, and I have trained different specialists from different fields during capacity building projects.

For more details, please visit my personal page on our lab website

I believe that the technological progress achieved in the latest years has open new opportunities for advanced 3D modeling. Results can still be greatly improved by developing more efficient algorithms!

Lab Notes

Nothing posted yet.

Additional Information

I believe that more research work and tests and now essential to exploit the full potential of 360 cameras, which are not only formidable tools to capture our special memories, but also powerful solutions for 3D modeling and virtual reality.

Here is a video of our presentation at the international 3D Arch conference, Greece, 2017

Project Backers

  • 3Backers
  • 5%Funded
  • $106Total Donations
  • $35.33Average Donation
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