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New Zealand Company Unveils 3d Game-changer

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand tech company Areo is set to unveil a revolutionary new 3D scanning service that promises to slash production times and save customers tens of thousands of dollars.

The web-based service,, will be launched by the Dunedin-based company on Wednesday September 8.

The company is spearheaded by Areo chief executive Luke Reid and creative director Sam Clarkson.

Reid says the innovation allows customers to upload a few of their own digital photographs of an object or location to the website for conversion to 3D.

The 3D results could be available downloaded as a computer-aided design (CAD) file within minutes or hours, instead of, potentially, days using existing techniques, Reid says.

The technological step-change means customers could spend hundreds of dollars on the Areoscan service, rather than $100,000 to purchase - or $5000 per day to hire - a slower 3D laser scanner, which captures scenes just one point at a time.

"This brings 'big boys' toys' to everyday surveyors, architects, planners and other users.

"Not having to plan ahead to turn a real world environment into 3D, even using an iPhone to do an impromptu scan, makes this technology much more accessible" says Reid.

Areoscan has already proven a success, with field trials capturing buildings and roads in glorious 3D, not to mention film sets and props, natural features, digital elevation models and civic areas. Reid is confident the technology can be used for a wide variety of content, and would be particularly useful for existing aerial imaging companies - providing 3D digital elevation models without having to change the airborne procedure or equipment.

Areo has already partnered with Hawkeye UAV - operators of unmanned aerial vehicles in New Zealand - to provide ultra low cost digital 3D mapping of the environment, be it towns and other urban settings or sprawling country vistas.

As all Areoscan requires is a digital camera, it is light enough to be mounted on an unmanned aerial vehicle.

The result was a complete change in the economics of capturing data from the air, with a laser unit typically costing millions of dollars to operate from a piloted fixed-wing aircraft, Reid says.

The 3D imagery can also be used as a reference for computer-aided design (CAD) work, for example by scanning a field using Areoscan before plotting a road through it, or scanning an old building facade before creating a new building behind it, Reid says.

Clarkson says 3D files created as part of the Areoscan process - resulting in a 3D cloud of points - could be used to take accurate measurements of an environment, making Areoscan a powerful tool for land surveyors and architects.

The development of Areoscan is the latest step for the innovative Dunedin company.

In March, Areo's other 3D software beat international competition to take first place in the "Most Innovative Security Products and Services" competition, in the security software category, at The Security Network's 7th annual summit in San Diego.

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