You've probably seen Microsoft's Photosynth tech, which creates mega-panoramas in 3D by compiling a ton of crowd-sourced photos and applying a little software voodoo. This new 3D-environment-from-2D photos project from Microsoft does kinda the same thing, but from your phone.
Basically, you shoot a bunch of photos—anywhere from a dozen to 40, with more photos adding more detail—and they're shot up to a Microsoft server, which blends them into a 3D environment on the fly. In this demo, a desktop computer sits for the server, and the photos are beamed to it instantly via an Eye-Fi SD card.
For a research project, the results are pretty stupendous, with everything in the video happening in the span of 2 minutes, and photos instantly viewable on the phone or desktop. The applications for this kind of instant-3D photo speak for themselves: ultra-detailed eBay listings, virtual shoe shopping, the most horrific sexting you've ever imagined. [Microsoft]