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Startups

Chinese startup launches camera that produces 3D images

The technology is particularly useful for real estate companies

4DAGE's camera requires no specialized skills and spatial 3D scanning can be completed in as little as 10 minutes. (Photo courtesy of 4DAGE)

BEIJING -- 4DAGE, a Chinese startup that develops 3D digital data technology, has launched a camera that can produce 3D images. 

The "4DKanKan Pro," priced from 9,800 yuan ($1,406) each, creates 3D images that are especially useful in capturing rooms and properties that can be used by real estate agents. It can also take images that can be used in online exhibitions. 

The photographer simply uploads the photos taken and the technology will recreate the images in 3D. This eliminates the need for professional photographers and cutting the time it takes to recreate such models. Weighing just 660 grams, the camera is much lighter than conventional ones that typically weigh more than 1 kg.

4DKanKan is able to discern the surface asperity of an object using algorithm-based simulation, removing the need for a lot of equipment. Under certain conditions, the technology can also be used to model photos with a smartphone.

The company was already mass producing 4DKanKan in April and orders have surpassed 10,000 units. Besides selling the system, 4DAGE also allows public access to its application programming interface, making it possible for users to develop apps themselves for their own convenience as well as providing a customized service for a price.

On top of the real estate sector, the camera can also be used for online exhibitions, in insurance, policing and for a future smart city.

4DAGE has worked on developing and commercializing 3D digital technology for corporate customers using artificial intelligence since it was founded in 2014. The company has obtained 150 patents primarily in automatic 3D modeling, high-precision robot vision, visual simultaneous localization and mapping, and artificial intelligence vision.

Of them, 60 are patented inventions and 10 are international patents. It also owns more than 100,000 pieces of 3D space data, having set up a databank for deep learning. 

Greenlight Insights, which analyzes the augmented reality and virtual reality market, forecasts that the size of the global VR industry will reach 160 billion yuan in 2020. The Chinese VR industry alone will grow to 90 billion yuan, it said. In 3D modeling, REALSEE, a subsidiary of China's major real estate agency Lianjia, is also well known.

4DAGE is proceeding with fundraising in a pre-Series A round. All shareholders of the company are founding members and 4DAGE said it has posted a profit since it turned around in 2017.

36Kr, a Chinese tech news portal founded in Beijing in 2010, has more than 150 million readers worldwide. Nikkei announced a partnership with 36Kr on May 22, 2019.

For the Japanese version of this story, click here.

For the Chinese version, click here.

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