Fuel3D just signed a strategic investment and technology development agreement with In-Q-Tel (IQT), a not-for-profit investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
IQT was created to marry the technology needs of the U.S. Intelligence Community with companies at the cutting edge of commercial innovation, and the company invests in startups they believe are at the stage of “ready-soon innovation” which will be – within 36 months – vital to the mission of the US intelligence community.
They say such startups are generally inaccessible to intelligence activities and add that more than 70 percent of the types of companies in which IQT invests have done business with the government.
IQT says they act as a “strategic investor” with a unique model: IQT investments are meant to “accelerate product development and add mission-critical capabilities with the sole purpose of delivering these cutting-edge technologies” to users in the intelligence field.
IQT says the CIA is their primary partner, but they add the company broadened its scope to include groups like the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. The In-Q-Tel Interface Center is housed in the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters and is made up of experienced CIA officers.
The general idea is that the organization works in conjunction with venture capital firms to develop technologies using off-the-shelf products rather than seeking custom-built solutions, and they say that the upshot is that, on average, each dollar IQT invests in a company means the venture capital community will invest more than nine additional dollars.
Fuel3D says the IQT investment will allow them to further the development the company’s high-speed, high-resolution technology for government customers in need of advanced 3D scanning applications.
Simon Davidson, a partner with IQT Investments, says it’s the ability for non-technical users to easily create 3D models of everyday objects which makes the deal attractive.
“We’re eager to help our government customers leverage these advances through the further development of Fuel3D’s technology,” Davidson says.
Fuel3D has developed technology which combines pre-calibrated stereo cameras with photometric imaging to capture and process a 3D model in seconds. The Fuel3D system generates high-resolution, color 3D models of objects, environments or individuals which can result in numerous precise measurements of an object. The company’s scanning technology uses a proprietary methodology to fuse geometric and photometric stereo images to create 3D models.
The speed of their process is what sets Fuel3D apart – images are captured in less than one tenth of a second – and that means the captured data can bring 3D scanning to fields like fashion, footwear, orthopedics, sports and biometrics, .
“The speed with which we capture high resolution 3D data is key to what makes Fuel3D’s technology different,” says Stuart Mead, the CEO of Fuel3D. “In just a tenth of a second, our platform can capture an accurate, measurable, full-color 3D model at resolutions of 350 microns (0.35mm) or better.”
The company’s first product, SCANIFY, is a handheld, point-and-shoot 3D scanner meant for the consumer 3D applications market. Mead says this investment from IQT will allow his company to further refine the SCANIFY technology for additional applications with an intelligence gathering focus.
What applications can you see for high-speed, high-resolution 3D scanning among the members of the intelligence community? Let us know in the Fuel3D Signs Deal With In-Q-Tel forum thread on 3DPB.com.