San Francisco-based augmented reality (AR) startup Ubiquity6 publicly launched its Displayland mobile app for iOS and Android Monday, giving everyone the ability to capture objects and places in 3D and share those 3D assets with the app’s other users. The public release follows several months of private beta-testing, and comes ahead of plans to turn these 3D spaces into stages for multi-user AR interactions.
At first look, Displayland looks similar to Instagram, or other social media sharing apps, complete with a feed, and the ability to follow individual users. Only, the media shared via Displayland does not consist of flat photos or videos. Instead, the app uses the camera of AR-capable phones to capture 3D assets, a process that’s also known as photogrammetry.
To do this, users open up the camera view of the Displayland app, and then walk around the space or object they intend to capture for a few minutes. While doing so, the app detects surfaces and other objects in the space, and calculates their relative size and position — all necessary to eventually recreate the space in 3D.
Captured data is then uploaded to Ubiquity6’s servers, where it is turned into a 3D asset. After that, users can share their 3D capture with others within the app, or send it to contacts who aren’t Displayland users to explore it via their phone’s or desktop PC’s browser. Displayland captures can even be viewed in a VR headset like Facebook’s Oculus Quest.
“It basically runs on any device that has a browser,” explained Ubiquity6 co-founder and CEO Anjney Midha during a recent interview with Variety. What’s more, users can also download their assets to use in other creative tools. “You can export the mesh,” Midha said. “We are turning the real world into an asset store.”
The latter could make Displayland particularly interesting for Hollywood creatives looking for ways to quickly capture locations for scouting that could then be shared with teams across the globe. Studios already use photogrammetry for scouting as well as pre-visualization, but often have to rely on professional equipment to capture these spaces.
The big question for Ubiquity6 is whether ordinary users outside of industries that already rely on 3D assets can be convinced to use the Displayland app. Midha said that the beta test of the app revealed a lot of interest from ordinary users looking for new ways to capture their favorite spaces — but the company won’t be relying on the novelty of 3D media alone.
In a few months, Ubiquity6 plans to launch AR features for Displayland that will allow anyone to meet in 3D spaces digitized by the app’s users, complete with AR avatars, and even play games against each other. In a demo, Midha showed off how these features could bring together users in a living room setting with others visiting from afar, all represented with avatars in AR.