Tiny NCI chip will turn a smartphone into a 3D scanner

Modern smartphones easily replace many devices. And soon they will be able to replace 3D scanners. For this purpose, scientist Ali Hajimiri from the California University of Technology has developed a miniature chip.

A unique chip called NCI (nanophotonic coherent imager), using a laser beam directed at an object, will be able to create a three-dimensional image of it. For this, the Light Detection And Ranging technology (for short, LIDAR) is also used. The NCI chip is tiny (less than one square millimeter), which allows it to be installed in any mobile device, be it a smartphone, tablet or portable camera.

For the sake of fairness, we note that the NCI chip is still only a prototype and is capable of scanning only small objects in 3D. But the creator plans to complete the development of the chip, which in the final version will be able to digitize large objects. When the new chip will find its use in mobile electronics is still unknown. But we can very well expect smartphones with 3D scanners to appear in the coming years, given that Internet giant Google is already working on a similar project called Project Tango.