The fields of computer vision and VR are difficult. But a new company, Send Reality, is entering the race. The Y Combinator-backed company is looking to offer full 3D-modeling for virtual walkthroughs of real estate listings.
Founder and CEO Andrew Chen said he was the kid back in middle school and high school that spent hours walking around the streets of Paris, NYC and SF on Google Streetview.
“The thing I always wanted was to walk through the inside of all the interesting places of the world,” said Chen. “90 percent of the world’s most interesting physical content is inside, but I couldn’t do that.”
Chen explained that the field of computer vision has been able to make substantial technical breakthroughs, now allowing companies like Send Reality to create a videogame-style replica of the world.
For now, however, Send Reality is focused on luxury residential real estate.
Here’s how it works:
Send Reality sends photographers out to the listing with an iPad, a $250 commodity depth sensor, and a specialized Send Reality app. These photographers take hundreds of thousands of photos, and the Send Reality technology stitches those photos together to create a complete 3D model, as shown in the above .gif.
Chen says that what makes Send Reality tech special is how efficiently it’s able to stitch together these photos, explaining that the company can put together over 100K photos in the same time it takes for top academic labs in the world to put together 5,000.
“What this means is that the 3D models we create are so much more realistic than anything else anyone else has made,” said Chen.
For the luxury residential market that Send Reality is currently targeting, most listings are put up on their own website. Given this is still in beta, the numbers on Send Reality demoes are still rough. But Chen says that listing websites that include the Send Reality product see a 5x to 10x increase in the amount of time people spend on the website, with 75 percent to 80 percent of that extra time spent directly in the Send Reality viewer.
Send Reality sells directly to realtors, offering the product for $500 to $800 depending on the size and complexity of the home. In the future, the company can bring down that price point by allowing realtors to scan the home themselves from their own smartphone.
Send Reality has received funding from Y Combinator.