Today Quantapoint is a leading provider of digital reality capture technology and services, but this was not always the case. To reach this point has been a long and curious journey of technology development and evolving market opportunities. The company has evolved from autonomous robots and machine vision sensors to Digital Facility technology that enables the world’s largest facility owners to improve capital efficiency – from broad based academic research to focused commercial success.
The story begins with a Master’s student under the guidance of three robotics professors at Carnegie Mellon University. Eric Hoffman and his graduate advisors Pradeep Khosla, Takeo Kanade, and Chuck Thorpe were excited by the possibility of commercializing new technologies being developed around robotics and machine vision. In July 1991 they incorporated K2T and began the process of figuring out what they could sell and who would want to buy it.
It was only a matter of months before the first big opportunities developed. K2T was hired by NASA to design and fabricate the six-legged Dante robot while also undertaking a crash development program to design and manufacture a structured light ranging system suitable for academic research institutions. Dante was deployed to Antarctica in the fall of 1992 and by that time more than five of the first structured light ranging systems were being used by vision researchers from Pittsburgh to Seoul.
As the years went on the researchers at K2T began focusing their efforts in order to evolve from a custom research organization into a commercial products company based around large scale 3D imaging technology that had been designed through internal research and development efforts. This technology, dubbed the SceneModeler, included the first 360 degree phase-based laser scanners and the core software technology required to register laser scans together and process the resultant point data into useful deliverables.
With this technology as a base, the focus of the company shifted toward 3D laser scanning hardware, software and services. The company name was changed to Quantapoint in 1999 to reflect this new focus. Initially, Quantapoint used 3D laser scanning to “digitize” buildings and create 2D drawings, 3D models and animations. Early architectural projects of note included the Museum of Modern Art, the tombs KV14 and KV5 in the Valley of the Kings, Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
Throughout its history, Quantapoint has received patents and awards for the 3D laser scanning hardware and data processing software that it has developed including:
- FIATECH Celebration of Engineering Technology & Innovation (CETI) Award: Quantapoint’s Laser Model technology was recognized as “a significant achievement that benefits all capital projects”.
- World Oil Award: Laser Model™ technology named as a finalist for the Best Data Management Solution Award.
- Engineering and Construction Contracting Association (ECC) Academy Award: Quantapoint’s Laser Model technology and Zero-Defect services as “Technologies Which are Pioneering Our Ability to Innovate and Add Value in Our Project Industries”.
- R&D Magazine R&D 100 Award: Quantapoint PRISM 3D™ and QuantaCAD™ have both been named one of the 100 most innovative products of the year.
Today Quantapoint primarily focuses on large facilities. We serve as a trusted adviser to many of the world’s largest and most innovative companies.
Eric Hoffman continues to guide Quantapoint’s technology development lending energy and innovation to Quantapoint’s continual quest for excellence as he has since K2T started building imaging sensors in his basement in 1992. Pradeep Khosla remains actively involved in the strategic direction of Quantapoint as a member of the Board of Directors, however most of his time is spent as the Dean of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Takeo Kanade, still one of the world’s foremost visionaries in computer vision, remains at Carnegie Mellon. Chuck Thorpe also continues his work at Carnegie Mellon today working in the Robotics Institute.