Summary:

A company called Fyusion is trying to redo the photo app with a 3-D imaging technology that captures the spatial features of objects in order to generate multi-dimensional images. Photos, however, are likely just a first step.

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Fyusion, a stealth-mode 3-D imaging startup founded by former Willow Garage roboticist Radu Rusu, has raised a $3.35 million series A round of venture capital from UTEC and New Enterprise Associates, as well as several angel investors. The company is working on a technology, which it calls spatial photography, for capturing the physical properties (such as shape and scale) of objects or scenes as the camera scans them.

The first taste of Fyusion’s technology is an iPhone app called Fyuse that lets users take and share 3-D photos. An example on the app’s website — using the Willy McCovey statute at AT&T Park in San Francisco — illustrates how it’s different from photos, videos or panoramic shots. The Fyuse image lets viewers virtually circle the statue in a smooth manner, thanks to how it captures the spatial features of the statue and the background.

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The technology seems theoretically similar to what Google is trying to do with Project Tango, although it’s unlikely either company envisions smartphones and photo apps as the ultimate form factor for their technologies. There’s a lot that can be done using these types of technologies to map areas, push even advanced image search or classification technologies beyond two-dimensional features, and provide for richer augmented or virtual reality experiences.

And, of course, there are robots.

Update: This post was updated at 12:15 p.m. on May 29 to correct the player depicted on the statue. It is Wille McCovey, not Willie Mays.

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