This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
An Israeli startup participating in the sixth batch of iHLS Security Accelerator has developed a ground-breaking camera-based technology for precision 3D measurement which will revolutionize construction, security and other fields.
The construction sector lacks of precision measurement tools that can be digitally shared. Contractors and vendors spend billions of dollars annually on devices and measurement services.
Current solutions are not sufficient – laser 3D scanners have been here for a long time, but they are expensive, cumbersome, and require expertise, therefore they are not efficient enough as a working tool to be used by builders, contractors, architects and other construction professionals. Smartphone and tablet applications for indoor screening are not accurate enough and cannot serve as a professional tool.
iMeasure’s technology offers a simple, rapid and intuitive screening that produces an accurate and precise, low-cost 3D model of the screened space.
This revolutionary camera-based screening technology in conjunction with Mixed Reality (MR) technology will enable the rapid and accurate 3D measurement of structures. The compact solution is suitable for construction site users. It will reduce the time spent on measurement in comparison to the use of hand-held or laser-based devices, will contribute to a decrease in construction time, and lead to a considerable cut in construction costs emanating from measuring mistakes.
How does the technology work?
The iMeasure that is under development integrates software and hardware. It includes a video camera, a depth sensor, additional sensors, and a powerful computer. The software is based on advanced image processing algorithms, and applications can be integrated according to the customer’s needs.
In addition to the construction field, the technology has a wide range of applications in many fields: HLS, gaming, mines and tunnels, municipal construction control, municipal surveillance, control and mapping, size and volume evaluation of spaces of sites intended for detonation, etc.
In the security sector, the technology can supply a unique response to many challenges, e.g. using robots in tunnels for mapping, indoor navigation, prison control for the detection of construction changes made by prisoners, the detection of border fence and perimeter changes over time through periodic screenings, etc.
Moreover, the technology’s 3D imaging capabilities and high-precision qualities take video analytics to the next level.
The development merges the physical realm with the digital world. Mixed reality tools visualize the data and display physical information, and over it – 3D digital information concerning the actual products (MR) and 2D information through Augmented Reality (AR) – text and graphics.
In fact, the product supplies the basis for the digitization of spaces, a capability that does not exist in the construction field.
The iMeasure scanner which will operate with a tablet, PC or MR glasses, will supply immediate and precise measures and will calculate and document the required sizes of the surface and objects. The data will be displayed over the image of the surface on a tablet or on MR/AR glasses attached to a helmet, and will also be able to display additional data, e.g. architectural plans, diagrams or virtualizations through a selection from menus available on screen.
The technology will also offer the delivery and receipt of precise measurement data and images to and from service and material providers outside the construction site on real time, an advantage that will save immense amounts of travel time and turn current independent measuring by each vendor unnecessary.
The company CEO, Udi Mann, has been specializing in architecture, interior design and project management for over 20 years, expertizing in CAD-related software. Constantly looking for a solution to the precise measurement problem, he came up with the idea to try using a camera for measurement. As he said, “I was exposed to the encumbrance related to current measurement systems and the expenses emanating from measurement mistakes, and tried to find solutions in the field of computerized vision, however, at the time there was not enough knowledge about it”. Two years ago he decided to check again the feasibility of the development, consulting with some of Israel’s leading scientists in the field. After they assured him that the knowledge was now available, he partnered with Prof. Michael Werman, a computerized vision expert from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the project was launched.
The Jerusalem-based company was founded by the partners Udi Mann, Prof. Michael Werman, and David Kahn, who is responsible for business development aspects. It was Prof. Amnon Shaashua, a computerized vision expert, co-founder of Mobileye and Orcam, and a senior VP at Intel Corp., who believed in the company at the first stage, invested in the project and consulted to the entrepreneurs. Investors also come from the real estate sector. Shai Waisel, an experienced 3D developer, founder and manager of several startups, decided to join as an investor and has been working with Prof. Werman in the development of the technology.
In the future, according to Udi Mann’s vision, this technology will change the construction realm. The ability to digitize construction sites in a very accurate, simple, rapid and cheap way will enable the transfer of vital information and add efficiency to the construction field, just as the cellular phone revolutionized the business world: It will lead to cuts in construction time and costs, and increase in productivity.