Sony is one of the world’s greatest tech all-rounders for just about anything that plugs into an electrical socket, but that doesn’t always translate to a guaranteed place on the best-in-show podium for each and every product. For almost no category is this truer than for smartphones.
It’s a weirdly competitive marketplace, driven by billion dollar brands all vying for the top spot, yet all relying on each other to produce different hardware components for each other to keep up with the relentless demand of an opulent and tech-savvy consumer base. Sony’s latest offering might just have what it takes to put at least a few of its competitors behind it.
The Xperia XZ Premium is a very handsome phone, one of the first observations we made when we first reviewed it here. What they’ve added, though, is a whole lot of fun that may just be the stepping stone to the future of 3D modelling and printing, with myriad potential real-world applications and uses. Though rudimentary in in current abilities, the 3D modelling technology built into every handset is a sure sign of things to come, and a concerted response to market research funded by Sony.
A survey of 1,300 Australians last year showed that up to eighty percent were interested in spending extra cash on a phone that had the ability to forge 3D models from the camera and then print. What’s resulted is a fun take on 3D modelling, but one which displays the potential for such software in the future.
The Sony Xperia’s 3D Creator takes a little practice, but in essence uses the phone’s (already super impressive) camera to build a 3D model of a person’s face, head and shoulders, or a free-form object (like a wedding cake for example). A head and shoulders can then be used to create a hilarious dancing avatar, or can be sent off to Europe for a palpable rendering of the scan which can be ordered (though this is expected to become much cheaper when the software ties in with current on-market 3D printers available in Australia and beyond). This is a particularly cool feature for those obsessed with uploading photos of their food on social media, as you can now upload a 3D rendering that can be spun around by your friends, so no angles get missed.
This is all good and well, but it’s the proof of concept that’s most exciting here. What if one day you could simply snap a photo of your hand using your smartphone and send it off to a lab to get a new one 3D printed after a serious accident? 3D printed body parts aren’t such a far-fetched idea, in fact, they already exist. Putting the power of 3D modelling in a smartphone is really just the next logical step in a user-driven market.
There’s bound to be a few blokes out there gleefully reading this, thinking of the one dodgy use for a 3D camera, this is inevitable.
But for the most part, this really is a super exciting innovation that puts something unique and fun into the hands of everyday smartphone users, but with the potential to change how we perceive 3D modelling forever.