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  The American Surveyor     

iSTAR The World's First Automatic Rapid 360º Camera Launches Print E-mail
News Headlines - Laser Scanning/LiDAR
Written by NCTech   
Monday, 16 April 2012

Scotland based camera design and manufacturing company, NCTech, is launching the world’s first fully automatic instant 360º panoramic camera today at SPAR International 2012 in Texas. Eagerly anticipated, the iSTAR® is widely predicted to displace current technology globally across multiple sectors including engineering, heritage, construction, surveying, architecture, mining and oil and gas.

Designed to be integrated seamlessly into the Lidar scanning process, this revolutionary new type of rapid imaging camera is the first 360º camera with the power to process its images internally, with no need for a computer to complete post-production processing or stitching.

iSTAR® produces instant 50 megapixel high resolution full spherical images to help accurately measure, document and visualise a location, building or terrain. The image resolution of the iSTAR® far exceeds that of traditional cameras and when superimposed onto point cloud data allows the viewer to clearly visualise the scene.

With zero set up time iSTAR® is small, light and robust making it easy to transport and quick to deploy as NCTech’s co-founder and co-inventor of the iSTAR® Neil Tocher explains: “Full asset management of a facility is a lengthy and cumbersome process. The iSTAR®’s technology dramatically streamlines this process by cutting time and effort.

“The development of iSTAR® is probably the worst kept secret in the business and there is already a high degree of anticipation in the market about the product’s launch with pre-orders well exceeding original estimates. We are excited to bring this new camera technology to market and looking forward to it being deployed globally”.

Operated by a touch screen on top of the camera, iSTAR® can be controlled remotely via a tablet providing a real time view, more interaction and allowing the photographer not to be in shot. The iSTAR® can also be linked live to a TV monitor or over the internet enabling offsite control and interactivity.

The iSTAR® is precision engineered like no other camera and its construction pushes the very limits of today’s manufacturing and lens technology. With no moving parts and a solid steel body, it is this armour that allows the camera to operate at the highest level of precision in the harshest of environments.

Invented by NCTech’s co-founders, Neil Tocher and Cameron Ure, the iSTAR® is the result of two years research and development. During this time the two worked closely with a number of key sectors including the military, police, engineering and heritage to ensure that the final product would meet their very specific and exacting requirements ensuring it is fit for purpose.

A common issue to every focus group NCTech ran in the early stages of its research was the speed and the length of time it takes to produce a 360º image. Traditional cameras have to be physically rotated to capture dozens of images which are then painstakingly stitched together on a PC offsite. iSTAR® is fully automatic and the image it produces is the final product. This means no further post-production processes or stitching.

iSTAR® is available in two models - Fusion and Pulsar – both of which capture the spherical environment - 360º horizontally and 280º vertically, including the zenith. Pulsar offers extended capabilities over Fusion, including speed and time saving features to speed up productivity and provide even higher quality HDR (high dynamic range) images. It also offers a superior user interface with live full immersive view and introduces network connectivity and fast capture for video surveillance. Fusion can be easily upgraded remotely to Pulsar.

About NCTech

NCTech is a camera design and manufacturing company based in Scotland and founded in 2010 by Neil Tocher and Cameron Ure. Following two years of intensive research and development by the co-founders, the company plans to launch its flagship product in the spring of 2012. A world first, the iSTAR® is a fully automatic instant 360º panoramic camera. Privately held, the company recently completed its first funding round and is listed on the Scottish Enterprise high growth stream.


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