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Curtin spins off unique 3D video camera

Media release

Curtin University of Technology has established a new company to commercialise stereoscopic three-dimensional (3D) video camera technology for use in the oil, gas and mining industries.

The camera has been effective in providing realistic depth perception in hostile environments when using remotely controlled equipment.

The new company, Deep Vision 3D Pty Ltd, is built on a unique set of skills and processes developed by Curtin’s Centre for Marine Science and Technology (CMST) to produce the highly-capable stereoscopic 3D mini cameras.

CMST Research Fellow Andrew Woods, who developed the technology, explained that the 3D video cameras offer significant benefits over existing cameras used in the industry.

“Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles (ROVs) are equipped with a video camera and lights, and used for subsea inspection in the oil and gas industry. Existing video cameras deliver only a 2D image,” he said.

“The resulting 2D images have limited fidelity making it difficult to accurately determine object size and depth, and are also susceptible to interference from suspended matter in the water.

“Moreover, these issues become a particular problem with more sophisticated ROVs that may be equipped with robotic arms to manipulate the environment.

“Accurately controlling the robotic arm is difficult if the operator has only 2D video to guide their aim, ensuring that even relatively simple tasks are time-consuming and therefore expensive.

“Previous attempts at enabling 3D video camera systems for ROVs have not been successful due to issues of cameras losing critical alignment, and user eye-fatigue.

“Our camera design is capable of addressing all these problems.”

Deep Vision 3D has plans to market two products based on this technology, a marine 3D camera (for subsea inspection use in the oil and gas industry) and a hostile environment 3D camera (for use in hostile environments like underground mines and copper smelters).

Prior to the establishment of the company, several cameras have already been used to complete underwater inspection and maintenance work in the oil and gas industry for companies like Shell, BP, Esso Norway, Chevron Texaco and Maersk.

The company will initially focus on deploying the camera technology into the oil and gas, and mining industries, and also conduct research and development aimed at new generations of the cameras using new technologies.

Curtin’s IP Commercialisation Office Director Rohan McDougall said Deep Vision 3D was another Curtin commercial success story.

“The University has provided seed investment in the company and will remain a shareholder while the company establishes itself in the market,” he said.

“The company has tremendous potential to succeed commercially by offering a key enabling technology in strategic industries, with expected demand for the cameras likely to be strong.”

Deep Vision 3D was a recent recipient of the merit-based Commercialising Emerging Technologies (COMET) grant offered by the Federal Government.

Contact: Mr Rohan McDougall; Director, IP Commercialisation; Curtin; 08 9266 3370; r.mcdougall@curtin.edu.au  

Note to Editors:

About Curtin IP Commercialisation Curtin established a pre-seed fund in 2005 and a follow-on fund in 2008, each valued up to $5 million. The funds are being applied to support early stage commercialisation of innovative new technologies developed at Curtin. The University has invested in 11 companies and a number of unincorporated opportunities. The investee companies are rapidly growing and employ over 100 people in new economy jobs and generate revenues in excess of $10 million per annum.