Rafael Pagés: 3D Reconstruction of Humans With a Very Reduced Number of Cameras

Volograms powers user-generated 3D content creation for augmented reality (AR). Using the power of artificial intelligence, our mobile content creation platform is the first to allow smartphone users to easily create, share and play with immersive, dynamic content from one quick mobile video. At Volograms, we are experts in volumetric video capture technologies, and we have been working for years to simplify this promising technology as much as possible. Our vision is that anyone can be an AR creator, the same way we can all be video creator nowadays. Our mission is to simplify the 3D capture technology so it can be accessible to anyone.

Tell us about yourself?

My background is scientific: I studied engineering and did a PhD in Computer Vision. I specialised in 3D reconstruction because being able to extract 3D information out of standard images was fascinating to me. I started Volograms together with two of my Trinity College Dublin colleagues: we were all doing our postdoc research and we built a system to do 3D reconstruction of humans with a very reduced number of cameras.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

With the rise of Augmented and Virtual Reality, and the Metaverse in general, there is an increasing need for more tools to create 3D content, especially human content based on the real world and not cartoons. At Volograms we specialise on technologies to capture humans in 3D, both for professionals but also for consumers, which is even more complicated: there is no such thing as user-generated content for AR. We are fixing that, AR’s biggest bottleneck.

What is your magic sauce?

We invest a lot on R&D and we have a very strong focus on AI. That allowed us to work with different and simpler professional camera setups, and it’s now enabling us to capture humans in 3D with a single smartphone, something nobody else is doing right now.

Where do you see your company going in 5 years time?

AR is going to change the way we communicate, but for that to happen, these devices need to be both consumption and creation devices. We see our technology powering the content capture for every AR device, and eventually become the AR Camera of the future.

What has been your biggest setback so far?

The pandemic was a massive challenge for us: our revenues came from professionals doing immersive projects including volumetric capture, and with all the studios closed and everyone working from home, we had very little activity for many months. Nevertheless, this helped us focus on the development of our consumer-focused technology, which doesn’t require the camera studio, and has massive potential.

What is the next big challenge for your business?

We want to make our technology available in as many consumer devices as possible, and that is a huge challenge: with state-of-the-art 3D reconstruction, AR and visual effects combined in a single app, it’s not easy to support every device. However, we are making good progress to make it as simple as possible to integrate.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

Our technology has the potential to become the equivalent of a video camera but for AR, and we want as many people to try it and define new use cases we haven’t event thought of. We also want our technology to be useful for creators and professionals, so if you are interested in including 3D humans in your next game, virtual production, immersive or virtual production, get in touch with us and we will help you. In the meantime, you can download Volu by Volograms on the App Store and start creating!

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