Here comes MAXshot!

We’re very excited to announce that today we placed our order for the MAXshot photogrammetry add-on for our Creaform EXAscan.  What does this mean exactly?  Well if you check out this previous post on the demo we had on the MAXshot you’ll see that the MAXshot is a range extending option.  This does some really cool stuff for the work that we do.  First, it means that we can do MUCH larger scans in a more efficient manner.  With the EXAscan, you need to create a “breadcrumb trail” of the small circular targets between all areas you want to scan.  With MAXshot, you can connect the areas you want to scan with much more widely spaced coded square targets.  Whereas the circular targets need to be placed every 2-4″, the square targets can be placed roughly every 2 feet!  So, a very fast “bridge” can be established between areas to be scanned.  The second thing MAXshot does is capture what is called the “positioning model” using photogrammetry instead of the EXAscan.  The positioning model is the collection of all the targets in space.  For large scans with only the EXAscan, typically you first show the scanner the targets, and then you scan the surface data.  The process for doing this needs to be carefully planned out and executed, or problems will arise when scanning the surfaces later.  While the overall theory for capturing the targets with MAXshot is analogous to how you do it with the EXAscan, in practice the MAXshot is more forgiving and faster.  So, for complicated projects – even if they are not very large – the MAXshot can be a better way of capturing the positioning model.  Third, MAXshot takes the volumetric uncertainty associated with the size of the part, and divides it by 4.  This means much larger scans can be done at a very high accuracy.  In addition, MAXshot calculates and displays the uncertainty of each target in the positioning model – so you know how certain you are of your scanned data, at every single point in your scan.  This is something that simply can’t be done with tripod based or arm based scanners.  It seems to me that a lot of what is done in this industry is not very accurate, simply because the uncertainty can’t be calculated.  Often times vendors simply quote a single error/uncertainty value simply based on the unit’s spec sheet, and say “okay, this is the uncertainty of this model.”  The problem is, saying the uncertainty of your model is equal to a single number on a spec sheet has virtually no connection with reality.  With MAXshot, we can discern the uncertainty at every single stage of the project.  We will be able to tell you:

1. The uncertainty due to the photogrammetry capture of the positioning model – calculated on both the size of the model and the quality of the pictures taken for that project.  If the MAXshot takes a bad picture, it will tell us and we can redo it.

2. The uncertainty due to the localized laser scanning of the surface with the EXAscan.

3. The uncertainty from fitting a NURBS surface to the surface data.

There is a huge difference between making a pretty picture in a computer, and giving a customer engineering data with numbers to back up the uncertainty.  In my opinion, the combination of MAXshot and EXAscan allows a level of accuracy and flexibility that is simply not available with any other product on the market.  We’ve got a few jobs already lined up for the MAXshot – it should be here in about 10 to 14 days.  Stay tuned, it should be fun!

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