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First Results from New Proto-5A Scanner

March 29th, 2015 Comments off
Here is an early 3D scan from our latest prototype scanner.  EARLY is a key word here, because our scanner has only been operational for a couple of weeks.  During the last year my team has completely upgraded the scanner hardware including cameras, lenses, chassis, and calibration tools. We have also ported our software from from Windows to Linux and from CUDA to OpenCL.  We have weeks of fine-tuning and calibration that still needs to be done, but we feel that the early results are worth posting.  The new system is called Proto-5A, and below lists the most significant improvements over its predecessor Proto-4F:
  • Produces higher resolution 3D scans
  • Scans 10x to 20x faster
  • Uses less power
  • Scans with nearly 100% reliability
Below is a first test example of Proto-5A's output.  I'll upload better versions as they are produced.     This was a risky upgrade of both hardware & software.  While it was our 13th hardware iteration, it was our first major change in nearly 5 years.  Our plan was sound, and we managed to avoid the Second System Effect that can kill a project that is too aggressive.  Instead of adding unnecessary bells & whistles, we refined proven features and eliminated compromises and inefficiencies that had worked their way into this 12-year project. The result of our efforts is clean, fast and efficient scanner. We have proven the Proto-5A approach is viable, and we are motivated to begin making plans for  Proto-5B: a smaller and lighter version.  Proto-5B will be low risk because it will use 90% of Proto-5A's software.  Most of the effort will go into designing a new circuit board that will integrate all of our current off-the-shelf boards.  This new board will improve performance and reduce system size, weight and cost.  We have the necessary skills to design and build the board, but collaborating with a more established team would also be attractive. Now that the bulk of the 3D-360 R&D has been completed, we have begun the search for a partner who is interested in adapting the system for a specific market (or markets).  Potential 3D applications include photorealistic architecture scanning, insurance or forensic scanning, content creations for training or video games, content creation for head mounted VR such as Oculus, and robotic visions & navigation.  VR & robotics are exciting options, but we will pursue whatever market makes sense. Below are our objectives for the rest of 2015:
  • Find a partner interested in moving the Proto-5x concept forward.  The ideal partner could support our development plan, or we could jointly develop a new plan.  The 3D-360 IP is valuable, and we need a partner willing to help defend our international 3D-360 patents.
  • Expand the capabilities of our 3D Scanning process.  Our scanner can be configured to produce high resolution photorealistic scans in about 5 minutes, or it can produce high-speed low-resolution scans at 10 to 60 Hz (we haven't benchmarked high-speed yet).  We will spend the summer developing routines to enable & refine these features.
  • Collect feedback from potential users/customers by participating in online 3D communities.  We will solicit market feedback by posting downloadable 3D models.  The market feedback will help shape our future development.