Campus Ventures Award

Merseyside-based Spiral Scratch, developer of the 3fM - the 3D-Scanner, has won the first prize of £20,000 in the Campus Ventures Best Business Idea Competition 2003-4.

The winning technology creates a three dimensional image complete with texture and colour. It can be treated as any normal 3D image – rotated, manipulated, re-coloured, modified or incorporated into a design, engineering drawing or games. Managing director of Spiral Scratch, John Wilson, explained why their technology is different: "It is true that there are already 3D scanning devices, however these technologies are very expensive and focussed on the high cost engineering industry. Importantly these technologies cannot be scaled down; they remain high cost regardless of size. Our patented system is based upon similar technology to that of the existing low cost 2D scanners." John Wilson, managing director of Spiral Scratch, explained the difference winning the competition will make to the company's development. "Winning this competition is tremendous news for the company. The money will enable us to accelerate the product development, bringing it closer to market. Specifically it will allow us to develop a line projections system – an important component as it has implications for the energy consumption and layout of the device, and to develop the colour mapping software to add colour to the 3D models.

Five finalists*, all with a new technology business, competed in the final of the competition, which showcases some of the most innovative new technologies emerging from the North West. Now in its fourth year, the competition, which is run by Campus Ventures, is sponsored and supported by HSBC Bank plc, Manchester Science Park, MIDAS (Manchester Inward Development Agency Service), accountants PKF and law firm Halliwell Landau – all organisations are involved in supporting and advising emerging technology businesses across the North West.

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