May 25, 2016 | By Benedict

Fuel3D, a 3D capture and imaging company based in Oxford, UK, has been awarded €1.7 million in funding from the SME instrument branch of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. The funds will be used to support Fuel3D’s face-scanning system for customized eyewear.

Despite several advancements in optical technology, as well as the introduction of contact lenses and an increasing number of affordable eyewear suppliers, many short- and long-sighted people still end up purchasing badly fitting glasses. Ill-fitting specs can cause discomfort and eye/lens misalignment, problems which are virtually impossible to put up with on a daily basis. Because poorly fitting eyewear is so common, Fuel3D is developing a 3D scanning system that will allow users to capture an entire face in one scan, providing essential data and specifications for appropriately sized eyewear.

Fuel3D’s proposed solution will be funded by the small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) instrument arm of the EU Horizon 2020 program. The solution will combine pre-calibrated stereo cameras with photometric imaging to capture and process a 270-degree 3D scan of a face in under 0.1 seconds, eliminating the problems of blinking and head movement. This quickly obtained scan data will then be used to generate accurate measurements for customized eyewear.

“We are delighted to have secured Horizon 2020 SME instrument funding for this project,” said Stuart Mead, CEO of Fuel3D. “We believe that the eyewear sector will benefit greatly from the advances we have made in fast, measurable 3D image capture, and we are looking forward to building a system that will help set new fitting standards and revenue models in the industry.”

To bring its 3D scanning product to market, Fuel3D has devised a two-year strategy, dubbed “Project 2SEVENTY”, in reference to the scanner 270-degree scanning capability. The first year  of the project will see the company develop a prototype system, while the second will be spent manufacturing the final product and working with partners in the eyewear industry to integrate with third-party systems. One particular target for Fuel3D will be to integrate with existing custom-fitting eyewear of “virtual try-on” systems.

To ensure that the €1.7 million is spent wisely, and that the right decisions are made over the two-year project, Fuel3D plans to assemble an advisory panel, consisting of industry experts such as opticians and eyewear manufacturers. The Oxford-based company will use the panel’s knowledge and experience when encountering industry-specific problems and challenges.

Fuel3D is actively seeking members. to join the advisory panel. Interested parties can apply directly to the company before June 14, 2016: “We have already had many interesting conversations with eyewear industry leaders and the formalization of our advisory panel will help us progress towards defining new standards in both technology and customer service,” said Fuel3D’s Alex McGrath.

Fuel3D, originally developed at Oxford University, has provided 3D scanning solutions to customers in a number of sectors, such as healthcare, academia, and security. The company is perhaps best known for its Scanify 3D scanning equipment, which was once used to capture a 3D scan of the 30,000-year-old Venus de Galgenberg.

Horizon 2020 is the European Union’s largest ever research and innovation program, with nearly €80 billion of funding available to participating enterprises over a seven-year period (2014-2020).

 

 

Posted in 3D Scanning

 

 

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