Opening the door to endless
Managing Director, Catalysis Consulting Group
085 391 9442
HistoryMarket development for 3D scanners was a long road…
MENSI was founded in Paris, France in 1987 by Auguste D'Aligny and Michel
Paramythioti to develop and market 3D laser scanning technology and 3D modeling
software. Mensi was sold to Trimble Navigation Ltd. In 2003
Trimble TX5 (2013)
~ 976,000 points per second
Cyra Leica Geosystems
Time of Flight (TOF)Time of flight scanning
Leica Geosystems 2013.
Scan station P20
~ 1 million points/sec.
Cyra was founded by Ben Kacyra in 1993, acquired by Leica
Geosystems in 2001
• Big Data:
Laser scanning has been around since the 60’s. However, it didn’t
break into the engineering realm until the late 80’s. Laser scanning
was one of those technologies that was limited by large polygonal
files, limited bandwidth and hard drive storage constraints. Even
today, A typical point cloud can be anywhere from 10 to 100
GB’s, rendering most CAD programs inoperable.
How can we use these massive data sets, we need to carry them
around on portable hard drives or thumb drives, because the files are
too large to email or even FTP.
If your thinking your files are never going to get that big…just wait, do
you remember thinking a 2.0 mega pixel camera was all you would
ever need? All of the entry level scanners will increase in accuracies
over time, increased resolution means bigger files. So what can be
• Polygon technology was developed a very long time ago for
simulations. This “method” has been used almost exclusively
ever since, for many years working with mathematical models
in games and CAD but the inefficiency is such that we need
multi-billion transistor chips in our desktop PCs to display them.
• The immediate problem came with the introduction of real-
world 3D scanners, beginning with medical scanners and later
laser scanners. And now we’re on the verge of huge 3D models
at a very low cost from large numbers of 2D images (Autodesk
123D, Acute3D, etc.)
• The technology developed to handle the huge step increase in
complexity, the octree.
• The big advantages.
• Used in medicine and laser scanning.
• More efficient for 3D printing from scanned data.
Looking for the Answer
• I needed to find answers to this question 20 years ago
and finally came across a scientist who was doing some
truly original thinking on a special US government
program. What he came up with was revolutionary.
Spatially sorting the 3D universe, think of an alphabet for
3D space. He named this method octrees.
• Dr. Donald Meagher founder of (Octree Corp.)
• Don has developed these technologies over the last 20
years, and is the most experienced pioneer in this field.
• Don is the Yoda of real world scanning and 3D methods
What is an Octree?
• An 8-way branching hierarchical tree structure representing the
spatial occupancy of a modeled solid resulting from a regular
recursive power-of-two subdivision of a finite cubical (or rectangular)
• In other words, it’s an advanced form of volumetric representation.
• Important characteristics
• – spatially sorted (for efficient processing)
• – hierarchical (use “coarse-to-fine” strategies)
• – number of nodes is O(surface area) of solid
• – multi-resolution
• – most operations use simple arithmetic (+, -, shift, etc.)
Growth of the industry
• Laser scanning started out much the same as GPS
(Global Positioning Systems). In the early days GPS, was
a technology only military personnel, surveyors, pilots had
ever heard of GPS. Now GPS is incorporated into
millions of devices, including our computers, cars and
phones. Surveyors, Engineers and Architects are now
working with 3D Laser scanning, but soon it will infiltrate
many other areas of our lives. “Xbox Kinnect” is a form of
laser scanning. Matterform will be shipping there under
$600 product soon, these low cost systems are going to
• 3D scanners were critical in high end biometric
development, ( 3D facial recognition) several existed but
all were somewhat limited in speed, range and accuracy.
• US National security interests pushed the development
• The ultimate sensor would be capable of human
recognition at 100 meters, provide 1-2 mm spatial
resolution…while the subject was running.
• We solved the 2 million point per second problem with
Next Generation scanning
• 3D flash LIDAR
• Raytheon system 2 million points a sec
Where are the opportunities
• Major considerations:
• Think outside the box about new customers
• Keep an eye on the 3D scanning world…
• 3D printing is local, and because of this more than ever before we can
consider localized needs and solutions.
• The advent of lower cost higher accuracies for rapid proto-typing
changes the calculus of international development.
• Our company Om+ has focused on technical development directed at
the emerging markets. The problem is that the technologies needed
in rural areas are dismissed using traditional metrics due to the fact
that profit calculations are based on the perceived ability of the
customers to pay for the R&D and follow-on products.
• Do you look at rural communities, the hundreds of thousands of poor
farmers with huge needs not being customers…think again!
• Think about PPP …(Public Private Partnerships)
• Time for out of the box model?
• PPP’s are the new model for well funded NGO’s
• Governments such as Lao, Cambodia, Myanmar, are ready to
team with NGO’s technologies companies, engineers and
inventors in cooperation with 3D printing community need to
work together to solve real life issues that concern rural
• There are development funds available for solutions coming
from NGO’s and National programs. ( look at the published
goals for the reduction of Co2 emissions and alternative energy
• Real tangible results can be gained as these groups work to
develop unique products.
• This type of development has been largely ignored, but due to
the pressing influence of ASEAN the willingness of these
governments to fund new programs is at an all-time high.
For those corporate firms considering entering
• Here is a tip:
• Do your due diligence, there is a lot of hype and
Vaporware out there. Invest in OSINT (Open Source
Intelligence tools) for your own research, take a look at
Gister Pro by Visual purple. It like Google on Steroids.
• As a guy who did technical due diligence for the top law
firm in the silicon Valley, it’s a smart investment.
Why should the 3D printing industry be
interested in advanced scanning technology?
• Because of the impact of having commercially available
3D cameras on a chip means cheap 3D cameras will
replace all 2D cameras eventually..
• Because your not really in the 3D printing business, but
your part of something much bigger. The world of making
solids from data, both designed data and “real world” data
A Brave new World?
• Why should everyone pay attention to the advances in 3D sensor/scanning technologies?
• It will be the fundamental leverageable technology driving hundreds of products and service over the next
• It will be developed for military and security applications and identification (biometrics)
• It will be used for banking and all manner of human authentication
• Enable perfect manufacturing technologies with no need for oxygen, light or heat. (no need for outsourcing)
• These application are going to create opportunities for countless businesses
• Think about fully measurable video, 3D plus time = 4D, how can it be used, and miss used?
• The explosion of limitless high resolution content/data, regardless of physical size is not many years
• The eyes of the machine are being built as we speak…
• This is bigger than the internet…
• Billions of dollars will be made by those who take the time to grasp this…and the future of our
grandchildren will be determined by our collective morality to use it properly.
• Are you ready?