Editor’s note: “Tech 2006”, one of the high-tech conference highlights every year in North Carolina, is set for Wednesday, Oct. 11 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. This year, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development has scheduled presentations from 27 companies as well as a number of speakers and panels.

To preview the conference, WRAL.com in conjunction with WRAL Local Tech Wire and the CED will profile many of the companies scheduled to present. The second in the series appears today. ImagineOptix was featured on Monday.

DURHAM, N.C. — When writers at the No. 1 TV show CSI were looking for story ideas, the 3D camera and scanner developed by startup DeltaSphere captured their attention. Thus in March 2005, the Research Triangle produced a “star” for an episode.

DeltaSphere’s unique technology, which was developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, can capture and recreate rooms or locations in amazingly focused 3D. Its ability helped the CSI writers and producers capture and reproduce a crime scene for more thorough investigations.

Next week, attendees at the CED’s Tech 2006 program can see the “star” in person at McKimmon Center.

But Nick England, president of DeltaSphere, has more on his mind now. He wants to generate more business.

DeltaSphere recently received a $47,000 boost when it received a grant from NC IDEA, the venture capital and economic development firm.

“The company has a great tool that, hopefully, in near future will be everywhere,” said Lister Delgado, vice president of NC IDEA. “It’s a 3D camera that scans room. This grant will hopefully facilitate a reduction in the cost. Imagine a typical size camera similar in size to a small box, reduced in cost from $50,000 to $5,000. Police departments could use it. Also, other industries could use it as well such as for inspections of jet aircraft.”

England, a veteran of more than 25 years in the 3D industry, said he is convinced DeltaSphere has developed disruptive technology.

“We enable people to readily create and exploit 3D digital models of existing scenes and objects,” England said in a Q&A with WRAL Local Tech Wire. “We are developing a 3D camera using a combination of innovative hardware and software to capture the real world, enabling people to create and use 3D content.

“Our disruptive technology addresses large important applications for cost-effective 3D capture in construction, renovation, design, forensics, and marketing,” he added.

DeltaSphere’s technology also simplifies and cuts the costs of 3D generation, according to England.

“Today it takes a team of computer graphics or surveying specialists to create realistic 3D digital models,” he said. “That cost is too high for many applications that need complete, accurate 3D data, but have to settle for rough outlines and cartoonish approximations.

“Our easy-to-use 3D camera and software will enable people to document, analyze, and visualize real world scenes and objects.”

The Q&A with England:

What makes your technology / product / application unique?

We take 3D data capture beyond traditional engineering and surveying applications. Our SceneVision software now makes this technology useful and valuable for crime scene investigation and other important applications.

Companies are more than technology.

How is your management team trying to mold the company into a winning venture beyond having a technical advantage or needed service?

We are focusing on understanding target market needs and developing easy-to-use products by capitalizing on the triangle’s world class expertise in 3D graphics and imaging technology.

What was the original inspiration that led to the launch of your company?

We began with a 3D laser scanner design developed at UNC-CH. We licensed that technology and began developing products and applications from there.

What markets / needs are you seeking to address?

We address any application where creating a 3D model of an existing scene is important – such as law enforcement, security, construction, remodeling, interior design, and marketing. There are many hundreds of thousands of potential customers for our products.

What have been the primary challenges you have faced in launching and then growing your company?

Lack of financial resources have been a real challenge and made it difficult to develop our technology beyond the prototype stage. In spite of that, we have bootstrapped our way to satisfied customers, valuable technology, and a bright future.

Was entrepreneurial spirit a real driver for your company’s founders and executive team to bring your firm to this point?

Nick and Doug Schiff have been through the start-up and product development process before so we knew what to expect and how much hard work would be required. All of the team are passionately motivated by the potential for success and by the emotional rewards of enabling our customers to solve their important problems.

Do you have patents or patents pending?

We have five patents pending regarding combinations and uses of 3D data and images. We have filed one patent covering our next-generation 3D camera.

How is your company financed? Do you have plans to seek additional investors or venture capital? Do you have another exit strategy?

We started with a small “family and friends” investment. The rest has come from personal savings, foregone pay, and revenue from sales of our initial products. We are currently seeking venture capital to develop and introduce next-generation products with very large market potential. We expect to become an attractive and valuable acquisition target which will provide an exit for our investors.

Fact box on DeltaSphere: www.localtechwire.com/article.cfm?u=15165

Previous LTW feature on DeltaSphere: localtechwire.com/article.cfm?u=10979