About this project
We are delighted to reveal our special edition Joshua Harker designed cover for the Fuel3D, you can back this pledge level today right here on Kickstarter. Click here to view in Sketchfab.
1) Help us reach $250,000 and we will include tripod mounting capability to Fuel 3D along with PC remote triggering with all Fuel3D units. ACHIEVED !!
2) Help us reach 350 units of the Fuel3D and MeshUp bundle and we will add painless automated merging of multiple scans to create single unified model. UPDATE: We are now aiming to develop this software feature in time for the product launch, regardless of whether we meet the stretch goal or not. Read our latest update on this.
While this can be done now by manually using MeshUp or other tools, depending on the scan and desired results, it can require some time and effort. Hitting this goal will allow us to promise the delivery of a 'state of the art' automated registration and stitching workflow seamlessly integrated into MeshUp.
The Fuel3D handheld scanner
3D is booming… whether in the worlds of gaming, making, or art, the demand for 3D is ever-increasing. But generating high quality 3D images for use in 3D printing or gaming is typically time-consuming and expensive. A handheld 3D scanner today can cost upwards of $15,000, pricing them well above what most independent game developers, designers and artists can afford.
That’s why we’re here on Kickstarter.
We have developed the Fuel3D handheld scanner, a point-and-shoot 3D imaging system that captures extremely high resolution mesh and color information of objects. Fuel3D is the world’s first 3D scanner to combine pre-calibrated stereo cameras with photometric imaging to capture and process files in seconds.
And, most importantly of all, at a Kickstarter price for under $1000 the Fuel3D costs less than one tenth of the price of its nearest industry competitor.
The Fuel3D scanner works in much the same way as a normal digital camera – literally point and shoot! But it shouldn’t be confused with the consumer 3D cameras available today.
The Fuel3D camera is significantly more advanced.
When we say 3D, we mean our system resolves a fully 3D surface consisting of a large number of physical and color measurements. These can then be viewed from any direction, edited, and used as source material for 3D printing or for on-screen manipulation.
Check out the portfolio page on our website – you can download actual scan files in .STL .OBJ and .PLY formats. Go play – we think you’ll like it!
So what can I use Fuel3D for?
Fuel3D can be used by anyone who wants the ability to rapidly create 3D models. Whether you are part of the maker movement, involved in mass personalization, a game developer, animator, 3D artist or any other type of creative developer who uses 3D, Fuel3D is a tool for you.
Fuel3D particularly excels in the capture of objects and surfaces including:
- Skin e.g. faces and body parts
- Organic subjects e.g. plants, leaves
- Stone, masonry, brick, wood
- Artwork, e.g. textured paintings, statues
The following 3D scans were taken with our current functional prototype. In the final product that will be available through Kickstarter, the core technical components will remain the same so the data quality will be identical.
How we got here
The Fuel3D technology was originally developed at Oxford University for use in a 3D medical imaging system that has now been successfully used in hospitals across the world. Fuel3D Inc. has now been established to further develop this underlying 3D imaging technology into the world's first truly affordable high resolution handheld colour 3D scanner. Here's how we got here:
- Feb 2005 – Prof Ron Daniel Lecturer in Engineering Science at Oxford University and James Patterson (finishing his PhD) agree to collaborate and file their first patent
- Aug 2006 – Ron and Jamie’s new venture is spun out of Oxford University
- Sep 2007 – Decided to focus on medical applications (wound care) and developed first device using off-the shelf cameras and flashes stuck together with duct tape!
- Oct 2009 – First functional Alpha prototype leads to NHS and VC funding, company expansion
- July 2011 – Pre-production Beta camera released to clinical collaborators
- 2012/13 – Medical product now in use in 25 UK national health clinics, with other deployments in the US, France, Denmark, Australia and Afghanistan
- January 2013 – The lack of affordable, quality 3D scanning options for the burgeoning 3D market leads Stephen Crossland, to recommend a low cost general purpose 3D scanner based on proven medical technology
- March 2013 – Fuel3D, the handheld scanner for under $1000 is conceived
- June 2013 – Fuel3D Inc. is established to develop Fuel3D handheld scanner for non-medical market
- Aug 2013 – Fuel3D working functional prototype launched on Kickstarter
- (Future) May 2014 – First Fuel3D devices delivered to early bird Kickstarter pledgers
What we’re going to do
We have already developed a fully working prototype scanner, with your assistance we can perform the final engineering work to lower the component costs to enable us to offer Fuel3D from under $1000 here on Kickstarter, plus further develop our software to make access to our high quality 3D data as easy as possible. By reaching our goal here on Kickstarter, we can do this.
We believe we are offering an incredible price for a 3D scanner, particularly one that comes with the flexibility and ease of use of being handheld and can also generate high-resolution, high-quality, full color true 3D geometry.
The product shown in our video is the working functional prototype we have today. The final product will be quite different in design and smaller in size. We’ve also included some product design graphics to show you where we’re going with the final product.
When you take a picture on a conventional 3D mobile phone or digital camera you are using a technique known as stereoscopic imaging. This uses two camera viewpoints, one for each eye, to display a “3D” image on a stereoscopic screen that gives the impression of depth.
In contrast, the core technology behind Fuel3D fuses geometric and photometric stereo 3D recovery techniques and is finely tuned to capture high resolution 3D color images. This raw capability provides the opportunity for an object to be captured in true 3D geometry and full color. The technology is also inherently good at capturing other highly textured surfaces, both organic and inorganic.
Once a shot has been taken on the Fuel3D scanner the raw image data is converted into true 3D color geometrical data by our own software, which is included with the Fuel3D scanner. To run the Fuel3D software, you will need a reasonable specification computer (Mac, Windows 7 or higher, 2GB RAM, dual-core processor).
Our software generates a 3D color data file and allows some basic editing functionality prior to export:
- Trimming of unnecessary areas
- Adjusting the resolution for export, in turn reducing the polygon number for easier handling
- Exporting in commonly used 3D file formats, including .OBJ .STL and .PLY with color
Output resolution from Fuel3D varies with the distance of the system to the subject. The best achievable resolution is approximately a 250 micron sampling. To provide an indication of data accuracy, an object known to be flat (-/+ 0.25mm) was imaged several times at the minimum achievable resolution (i.e. the greatest distance from the Fuel3D scanner). A synthetic plane was then fitted to the data and error bounds calculated as distances from the plane. Results were as follows:
For further product specifications and other technical information please click here to download our technical overview.
A full 3D solution
At Fuel3D we are focusing on providing the best possible data quality achieved at the most accessible price. Depending on what you want to do in the 3D world you will probably need some other technology to form your full solution. Here are a couple of suggestions from us:
Software - Many third party software packages are available for further 3D data processing beyond the basic tools you get with Fuel3D. We have seen some really exciting things done with 3D scan data in MeshUp software from Uformia, another Kickstarter success story, so we have buddied-up with them to offer a limited number of Fuel3D scanners along with a MeshUp license for only $1090! The Uformia team are delighted with Fuel3D's data quality and how easy it is to work with in their software.
Watch the video..
3D printing – As with software there are a multitude of 3D printers on the market. Recently two really exciting products came to fame right here on Kickstarter! The Form 1 3D printer from Formlabs produces high-resolution, high-quality prints that capture the full-detail of the Fuel3D. Pirate 3D's Buccaneer produces low-cost ABS prints, that allow you to create scans easily. We are in discussions with both manufacturers and hope to bring you positive news about technical and commercial collaborations.
iMakr is an online store selling a wide range of 3D printers and materials, 3D art and 3D scanners and also operates the world largest 3D Printing store over 2 floors in central London. “Using a typical 3D scanner to capture an image can take a long time and requires the subject to remain very still,” said Sylvain Preumont, founder of iMakr. “With Fuel3D, you will be able to simply click one button to capture a very high quality 3D model of your subject in just a few seconds. Combine this with the incredible price they are selling it for and Fuel3D makes us very excited!”
Many different types of 3D scanner are available today, with prices ranging from a few hundred, up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, each with different capabilities and limitations. We believe that Fuel3D’s flexibility, quality and low price point gives us a unique position in the market and is a recipe for success… the table below outlines our key advantages against the other main types of scanner.
Risks and challenges
The development of the Fuel3D scanner is low-risk. The Fuel3D development program is essentially a re-configuration of an established technology that has already been successfully deployed in high-end medical applications. The objectives of the re-configuration are: to reduce cost while maintaining current system performance; reduce product size and weight; ‘tether’ the device to a PC/Mac so images are automatically exported for processing; and removal of medical regulatory required features and unnecessary components.
The functional prototype shown in the video has had many of the required modifications already made. It is not in the final form, we have engineering diagrams that show the layout of all the remaining components that will be needed in the final product. This format needs to be market tested in order to ensure its suitability.
Fuel3D will use a specialized outsource manufacturing partner to assemble the final product. We are already talking with several trusted companies and will shortly make a final decision about which partner we will proceed with. The success of this manufacturing program is therefore not reliant on new production capabilities and facilities being developed by Fuel3D directly. The outsource manufacture facilities being considered all specialize in working with technologies like Fuel3D, and have already been proven highly capable, therefore manufacturing risk is minimized.
The following key points outline what has been accomplished so far and what is still required in the manufacturing plan:
1. Take an existing medical device, remove the non essential medical related items
2. Produce beta software that removes the medical specific application including encryption
3. Take a wide range of images and check functionality of system
4. Prove system performs are required accuracy level
5. Develop trimming software and trim a variety of images
6. Export files to 3rd party software, Meshup and Meshlab
7. Create full 360 3D models in 3rd party software
8. Check water tightness of images and suitability for proposed applications
9. 3D print a selection of images or import into games development environment
10. Go, no-go decision on design
11. Produce a final bill of materials (BoM) to validate pricing
12. In pro-engineer assemble BoM into a proposed design
Still to complete
13. Test product demand on Kickstarter
14. Appoint final manufacturer to assemble new product
15. Produce beta hardware of final Fuel3D design
16. Test Beta hardware
17. Modify hardware as appropriate
18. Manufacture first batch for Kickstarter customers
Our Software development, in addition to the functionality detailed above, requires testing and developing for the Fuel3D platform:
1. Gather the exiting software functions into an integrated suite that allows smooth capture, manipulation and export (in common formats including .STL, .PLY, .OBJ) images
2. Develop further algorithms that broaden the suitability of the system to capture scans of other objects
3. Add support for Mac OS
4. Optimize algorithms/software for revised Fuel-3D hardware
One of a young company’s greatest challenges is often its people, but Fuel3D brings together an expert team, including the originator of the core technology, Prof. Ron Daniel of Oxford University, who is serving as the company’s technical advisor. The management team consists of highly qualified individuals and between them have great strength in depth, which is supported by qualifications and accolades, including a winner of the MacRobert Award, the UK’s most prestigious award for engineering, winner of two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, which recognize outstanding achievement by UK businesses, as well as a three-time finalist for Scottish Entrepreneur of the Year.
We have the expertise in-house to complete this project, and make Fuel3D a reality.
Stephen Crossland, Chief Marketing Officer & Kickstarter project leader
Stephen joined the Fuel3D team in 2013 bringing seven years of sales and marketing experience from a Fortune 500 company in the medical industry. A graduate of West Virginia University, Stephen previously owned and ran an electronics consultation and installation business. Stephen has a passion for 3D and is highly motivated to make the US market a huge success.
Stuart Mead, CEO Fuel3D
Stuart has a 25-year history in disruptive technology and is a senior sales and marketing pro. He was CEO of multi-award winning prosthetics company, Touch Bionics and learnt start-up at biopharmaceuticals manufacturer Excell Biotech. Previously he was a senior manager in both Kodak Clinical Diagnostics and Johnson & Johnson. As a former professional motorsport racer Stuart loves the speed of fast companies like Fuel3D.
Dr. James Paterson, CTO
James is co-founder and co-inventor of the technology underlying Fuel3D. James left Oxford University to work for the company full-time after completing his D. Phil in Engineering. He has authored numerous patents and publications and has led the development and delivery of the technical aspects of the company since its inception. Jamie has lived and breathed 3D scanning for 7 years; he dreams of 3D sheep!
Prof. Ron Daniel
Ron Daniel is a University Lecturer in Engineering Science at Oxford University, and Fellow and Tutor in Engineering at Brasenose College, Oxford. He is co-founder of Fuel3D. In 2006 he was elected as a member of the University’s Audit and Scrutiny Committee. Ron’s expertise and gravitas provides an excellent balance to Fuel3D’s energetic and passionate team.
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