James posted that he hadn’t seen any new “must see” hardware this year such as the touch tables and 3D printers that have wowed people in the past. Well I think the 3D video camera demonstrated in this video of a presentation given to Google might be a contender for next year!

It uses a laser array to capture a 3D image up to 5km away like lidar but a whole frame at a time and combines this with a standard 2D visible or IR image to create a 3D model of each frame, it can capture up to 30 frames a second, which means it can capture moving objects, or can be mounted to moving platforms such as an aircraft or car. It can also see through windows to capture the inside of buildings in 3D, or through particulates such as smoke or fog. There must be so many applications for this camera, from performing detailed 3D and visual surveys of streets and towns, for mapping hazardous areas, or just quickly collecting data that would make great content in a 3D earth browser application!

Whenever I saw a movie where the intelligence services took a cctv image then enhanced it and started flying around it in 3D it always made me laugh at the unfeasibility of this, well with this camera you can actually do this, and they demonstrate doing exactly that around the Google campus.

I’m putting one of these on my Christmas shopping list, though I’m still waiting for my 3D touch screen “coffee table”.