Matterport has been a specialist in capturing VR interiors for years – it calls these ‘digital twins’ – and while its bespoke scanning cameras are expensive, it’s been steadily developing its systems downwards to allow for much simpler and easier VR capture. And it can hardly get simpler than this.
The Matterport Axis is essentially a motorized phone mount that works in conjunction with the Matterport mobile app to capture a spherical rendering of your surroundings from any spot you choose. The Axis itself is an affordable $79 gadget that works with a phone you probably have already.
The VR capture is just the first stage of the process. The rest is handled by Matterport’s online VR hosting service.
How the Matterport system works
Once you’ve made your VR capture, it’s uploaded to Matterport’s own site where it’s assembled into a full VR environment that can be viewed in a regular browser just by following a shareable link.
The key to the system is that you don’t just make a single capture, but a whole series, as you move from one room or interior to another. This way, visitors can ‘walk through’ your virtual environment, pausing to look around at the surroundings at key points.
You can see how this works at Matterport’s sample digital twin of the UK’s Warwick Castle. The system even generates an interactive 3D VR floorplan so that you can get an overview of how the rooms are laid out – or you can just ‘walk’ from one room to another.
Matterport Axis and account pricing
Matterport’s hosted VR system is aimed both at professional real estate vendors and owners of tourist attractions (for example) who want to give visitors a flavor of what they can see.
Accounts come with a monthly subscription, but they start at just £7.99 per month (about $10.49 USD/AU$14.00) for two users and five ‘Active Spaces’.
The Matterport Axis itself will sell for $79 (about £60/AU$105), but there also bundle deals which include capture devices like the Ricoh Theta, Insta360 ONE X2 and Matterport’s own Pro2 scanning camera.
Previously available at early bird pre-launch pricing, the Matterport Axis will now be available from major resellers including B&H and Adorama.