Traditionally, 3-D scanning has required expensive laser scanner equipment, complicated software and technological expertise.
This innovation led to a rapidly rising commercial enterprise that concluded with Viztu's sale to a tech giant, which is now bringing the technology to the public worldwide.
Viztu's flagship web service, Hypr3D, could rapidly generate digital 3-D models of an object (human or inanimate) or scene from a series of user-uploaded 2-D digital photos or videos, usually captured by digital cameras, smartphones or webcams.
"We gave people the easiest scanner available: the cameras they already owned," says Thomas Milnes PhD '13, Viztu's chief technology officer, who developed the software behind Hypr3D as part of his
"Now it only takes a smartphone or digital camera a few minutes online to build a 3D model and only a few moments more to send it off to be 3D printed."
Less than a year after launching Hypr3D, Viztu-co-founded by Milnes and CEO Michael "Ash" Martin MBA '10-boasted thousands of users and tens of thousands of model views and downloads.
But while Hypr3D was freely available, the company was making significant revenue: Big-name clients were contracting Viztu to tailor its technology to their own unique applications, from 3-D filmmaking to 3D mapping.
Shortly after taking the grand prize in the "Innovative Web" track at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Accelerator competition in 2012, Viztu sold to
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