Smart Award

Spiral Scratch has won a Smart Feasibility grant from the Department of Trade and Industry's Small Business Service. The grant will finance a study examining the feasibility of their new '3fM' technology, which is set to be the enabler for mass-market 3D measurement. 3fM will allow the home PC user to scan 3D objects and to display a full colour 3D model of the object. In addition 3fM will allow real world objects to enter the virtual world of gaming. The award will assist the company in supporting their research program, developing their 2nd prototype, and position the company for further marketing and business development activities.

Spiral Scratch is a start-up company based in Liverpool and founded by a group of Unilever R&D Managers and Manchester based IP attorneys. The company has both technical and market research collaborations with Universities in Manchester and Liverpool. The primary business is technology licensing, in addition the company can supply 3fM components for product integration.

The technology is revolutionary and has opened up a new area of investigation in the field of 3D measurement. 3fM (Far field focus modulation) utilizes the demodulation properties of an optical system to calculate object 'depth'. This gives the technique some key advantages over currently available methods, not least in its redundancy for triangulation calculations. In addition the technique can be used in line-scan or area-scan mode and it can use both conventional light sources as well as laser light. Further, there is no need for user alignment or calibration, making the technique ideal for the home PC user.

A spokesman for the DTI says: "Because of the low costs involved, this technology will have mass-market appeal and would be a valuable asset to the British and NW economies".

John Wilson, Managing Director of Spiral Scratch says: "The Smart award is invaluable in helping us conduct research into 3fM. The potential uses for an inexpensive 3D capture technology are many and wide-ranging. We can see products such as a child's toy, a PC peripheral, a tool for web design and CAD, and a gaming console peripheral. The technology has generated a significant amount of interest to-date and the company is in discussions with a number of potential partners".

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