Covision’s AI vision

Creating 3D digital twins with cutting-edge scanning techniques.

Karen Moltenbrey

Covision Media is using cutting-edge technology to generate cutting-edge results in the creation of 3D digital twins of real-world objects. The start-up is able to produce a high-precision digital twin in about 20 minutes using advancements offered by AI and Nvidia RTX technology in the scanning and content creation process. The 3D models can then be used on the Web or in virtual advertising. One customer is Adidas, which is even using the 3D models for its virtual try-on applications.

Adidas AI
(Source: Covision Media, courtesy of Nvidia)

What do we think? There’s a reason why companies, especially those with a large product line, are taking notice of the technology from this start-up. Founded in 2020, Covision Media has revolutionized the scanning and digital model process. With its scanners, the process is fast and easy, enabling many models to be digitized. The models are precise, the quality is high, requiring very little post-processing. Moreover, the resulting models are built for today’s growing needs, whether for virtual commerce or for spatial-reality devices and mixed reality applications.   

Covision Media uses AI to transform the scanning process for creation of photorealistic 3D virtual assets

Creating 3D digital scans of a physical object can be a painstaking process. Sure, it is much easier and precise for getting to the final result than by creating a model by hand. And while the process varies according to the type of technology used by the scanner, there is the inevitable cleanup and postprocessing that are required. Photogrammetry, structured light scanners, and laser scanners, they all have varying pros and cons. Some of these methods can be especially time-consuming and sometimes don’t produce the desired or necessary level of detail. But now, we have entered the realm of digital twins, whose associated technologies take the process of creating a 3D replica of an object—or scene or environment—to a new level.

Covision Media, a start-up based in Italy, specializes in high-performance 3D scanning. As a member of Nvidia Inception program, it is one of the first companies taking advantage of the recent advancements offered by artificial intelligence and Nvidia RTX technology to enhance the 3D scanning and 3D content creation processes. The company uses new cutting-edge 3D scanning technology to transform any physical object into its 3D digital twin—at scale and at the highest quality—whether it’s a toy, a tool, a sneaker, or other type of object. What’s more, the resulting model is fully relightable, enabling users to adjust and manipulate the lighting within the scene where the model is placed.

Using Covision Media’s technology, a 3D digital twin can be produced in less than half an hour, with the textures, materials, geometry, and additional information automatically preserved. The photorealistic 3D digital twin then is ready for use, whether as 2D photorealistic image or as a highly detailed, relightable 3D model that can be embedded in videos or virtual environments.

The models can be produced in 8K, 4K, or 2K resolutions.

Covision Media is a spin-off of Covision Lab, a consortium of seven multinational tech companies, with the aim of using AI, machine learning, and computer vision to be a disruptive force across diverse industries—from transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture, to advertising, printing, and e-commerce—through applications, start-ups, and research. Among the company’s developments are the 3D scanners that are an integral part of the Covision Media process.

The structured light scanner uses 29 cameras to capture a 360-degree model of a product within a blacked-out environment. According to the company, the process takes about 20 minutes to complete. Once the object is placed on the platform, the scanning is initiated with just a press of a button.  

The scanner is connected to several workstations with Nvidia RTX A5000 and RTX A6000 GPUs, which power the AI and ray tracing, as well as help achieve the high level of accuracy. The ray-tracing performance of the Nvidia OptiX framework, coupled with Nvidia RT cores, enables precise measurement of the scanned object’s lighting, which is key to integrating the 3D models into a virtual environment.

“Without Nvidia RTX GPUs, it would simply not be possible to achieve the level of accuracy and performance that we need,” said Burkhard Güssefeld, tech lead at Covision Media. “Nvidia’s hardware and software capabilities are indispensable in pushing the boundaries of our technology.”

Covision Media also uses Nvidia’s software to develop AI solutions for its neural texture approach of generating the models. The company utilizes neural radiance fields (NeRFs)—which harness neural networks to generate 3D representations of an object (or scene) from 2D images. By integrating NeRFs into existing pipelines, the company is able to overcome issues such as transparencies and reflections, thereby increasing the quality of the 3D models by accurately capturing lighting, reflections, and transparent surfaces.

With NeRFs, high-quality 3D images can be created from the start of the process, resulting in less post-processing and more throughput.

After a 3D model is created, it can be used for a variety of purposes, including AR and VR, virtual try-on applications, animations, 3D e-commerce, and more. According to Covision Media, partial cans can be merged together to create a 360-degree scan of a product, ideal for use in XR environments.

Adidas AI
(Source: Covision Media, courtesy of Nvidia)

The Covision Media technology has caught the attention of the footwear industry. One of Covision Media’s customers is Adidas, along with its partner, Nureg, a content creation studio. They use the resulting models in a variety of ways, such as for 2D virtual product photos and videos, which helps the shoe company save valuable time and money. The models, due to their precision, are also being used for Adidas’ Virtual Try-On feature, whereby customers can virtually try on shoes prior to purchasing them.

Franz Tschimben, CEO of Covision Media, noted that the scanning device also helps companies easily create high-quality 3D assets needed to populate applications and worlds on new spatial computing devices and mixed reality headsets, like Apple’s Vision Pro and Meta’s Quest.

Companies can have their products scanned at a Covision Media partner in North America or Europe. The scanners are also available for purchase. According to Covision Media, the scanner is easy to use and can be operated by someone with little or no knowledge of 3D or 3D scanning.

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