You'd need only a smartphone app to pinpoint every pothole on your block, but to map out more severe structural damage, you'd probably need more sophisticated equipment -- which is where Topcon's IP-S2 Lite comes in. Unveiled at last week's 3D & Virtual Reality Expo in Tokyo, this road condition evaluation system is comprised of a 360-degree camera, GPS and an inclinometer. After using its camera to capture images at 16 frames per second, the IP-S2 analyzes the properties of every shot and uses this information to create 3D video footage. The contraption can also measure the height, distance and surface area of any given frame, allowing engineers to insert computer-generated images into the video (as pictured above) and to construct more accurate maps of disaster-stricken regions. In the wake of this year's devastating earthquake, for example, Japan's Geospatial Information Authority used this technology to map coastal areas of the Miyagi Prefecture, giving officials and rescue workers a better idea of the damage inflicted upon the region. You can find out more about the IP-S2 in the video after the break.

[Thanks, Don]

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Topcon's IP-S2 Lite creates panoramic maps in 3D, spots every bump in the road (video)