Who needs a Microsoft Kinect when your phone’s camera can do the job?

Microsoft Research said Monday it's working on a technology called MobileFusion for the Android, iOS, and Windows Phone platforms that will allow users to pan a smartphone camera slowly around a 3D object, creating a 3D model that they can later print.

“The great starting point was to take a sensor that everyone has in their pocket, which is the camera you have on your mobile phone,” said Shahram Izadi, a principal researcher on the project.

Why this matters: MobileFusion is designed for a single purpose: 3D printing. The idea, according to the researchers, is for people to bring a smartphone into a museum, on a hike, or somewhere else and scan a 3D memento into their phone for later printing. The only catch right now is that the MobileFusion research is... well, research: Microsoft says it doesn’t have any plans to develop the technology into a full-fledged app.