Computer vision R&D startup Obvious Engineering has released Seene, an iPhone app that aims to be a “3D Instagram” by using depth capture technology to let you create photos with a parallax effect.
Seene records an image from four different angles in order to generate its 3D images. The recording process has a steep learning curve, but the results are quite cool. If you’ve captured your subject properly, you’ll be able to rotate your phone to view the scene from different angles.
The technology has a number of limitations. You’ll only be able to rotate around the image by a few degrees, and some objects capture better than others. Sometimes the app would have trouble differentiating between the subject and the background, resulting in a trippy blending effect that would do things like bend a wall onto a person’s head. Plain, transparent or reflective surfaces won’t photograph well in Seene.
The Seene app includes social networking functionality that lets you follow other users and favorite their photos.
“We think this can have a very large number of users. our intention is to grow a social service like a Vine or an Instagram,” Obvious Engineering co-founder and CEO Andrew McPhee said in an interview.
Seene uses a proprietary file format for photos, but you will be able to view your posts on the Web and embed them on Tumblr. The format is compatible with Safari, Firefox and Chrome on the desktop. Seene images should also be viewable on the latest build of Chrome on Android, which includes WebGL support. The team says it has plans to release an Android app in the future.
In its current implementation, Seene is a nifty app to show off to your friends. The tricky recording process is bound to discourage a lot of mainstream users, but Obvious Engineering may have a “3D Instagram” on its hands if it can smooth out the learning curve.
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