OPAL LiDAR from Neptec Technologies enhancing airport safety

Ottawa, Canada – June 11, 2014 – Neptec Technologies Corp. is pleased to announce that its OPAL 3D laser scanners have been selected by the Technische Universität Dresden for an airport tarmac safety project in Germany.

The research project, led by Professor Hartmut Fricke, aims to improve the current safety level of airport operations with a real-time 3D surveillance and visualization system for the apron controller. The system combines 3D point cloud data with real-time algorithms to automatically detect aircraft, vehicles and pedestrians for collision avoidance, and to alert the apron controller to the presence of Foreign Object Debris (FOD) to mitigate damage to aircraft. Ground handling accidents, such as the collision of two aircraft during taxiing, have been reported to cause millions of dollars in direct and indirect damage costs.

TU Dresden selected Neptec’s OPAL-360 sensor because of its large, panoramic field of view, longer range options and, in particular, its non-overlapping scan pattern that avoids creating “blind spots” when the scanner is stationary compared to conventional 360° laser scanners designed for autonomous vehicles. Neptec’s patented obscurant-penetrating OPAL technology also solves the problem of operating a LiDAR-based surveillance system in all types of weather - including fog, rain and dusty conditions.

The system concept and technology selection rational were recently presented at the International Conference on Research in Air Transportation (ICRAT 2014) in Istanbul, Turkey.

“We are thrilled to have been selected by the TU Dresden for this project,” said Mike Dunbar, Director of Business Development for Neptec Technologies. “This is another validation of our objective to make it easy to deploy intelligent 3D applications that can operate in all kinds of harsh environments and that improve the safety and productivity of our customers’ operations.”

About Neptec Technologies Corp.
Neptec Technologies Corp. develops innovative 3D robot vision products for machine automation and robotics applications in harsh environments. The company was founded in 2011 to commercialize space-technologies developed by Neptec Design Group Ltd., an award-winning space flight technology company and NASA prime contractor. Its first products are a family of obscurant-penetrating laser scanners (OPAL) and a software development tool kit (3DRi) with advanced features such as automatic change detection and object recognition and tracking. Together, these out-of-the-box “building blocks” make it easy to integrate intelligent real-time machine vision applications on autonomous off-road vehicles, and for more familiar LiDAR-based survey and measurement tasks in harsh environments. The company is located in Kanata, Ontario, Canada.

For more information, visit www.neptectechnologies.com.

New DX-200 expands robotic working range, features hybrid versatility

OLATHE, Kan. – January 31, 2014 – Sokkia Corporation announces enhanced abilities and versatility to its DX series of total stations with the introduction of the DX-200 in the North American market.
“The DX-200 is ideal for the professional looking for a mid-range, auto-pointing total station that can become a full-robotic instrument with a simple firmware upgrade,” said Ray Kerwin, director of global surveying products.  “Advanced functionality such as Hybrid Positioning can be added to the robotic unit, making the DX-200 a versatile system for multiple applications.”
The DX-200 can be used with the RC-PR5 remote controller for increased Bluetooth® wireless operating range. “The remote allows for rapid prism search and lock up to 2000 feet (600 meters) away,” Kerwin said.
When configured for Hybrid Positioning, the DX-200 has the ability to use both GNSS positioning and optical positioning data simultaneously. The standard Sokkia Hybrid Robotic System includes the DX, GRX2 GNSS receiver and MESA large-screen tablet controller.
“Hybrid Positioning adds a new dimension of versatility,” Kerwin said. “When line-of-sight is blocked, for example, shots can be measured with the GNSS receiver, and the receiver can also be used for quick lock functionality.”
Standard additional features of the DX series include Direct Aiming™ auto-collimation technology, TSshield™ security and maintenance technology, MAGNET™ integrated software onboard and Sokkia’s patented RED-tech reflectorless measurement system. 
The DX-200 is available in 1, 3 and 5 arc second accuracy models.
Sokkia Corporation continually provides highly precise and reliable instruments and offers complete solutions in the areas of surveying, construction, industrial and monitoring applications. Sokkia’s product line features advanced optical survey instruments, advanced GNSS receivers, powerful field and office software, rugged data collectors, supplies and accessories.

Trimble Introduces Trimble Field Points Software for Building Construction Projects

Helps Boost Contractor Productivity and Accuracy by Reducing Manual Processes

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Jan. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Trimble (NASDAQ:TRMB) introduced today the new Trimble® Field Points software for construction field layout. The application enables contractors to create layout points in their computer-aided design (CAD) models. Trimble Field Points helps field crews to increase productivity by quickly and accurately matching the digital design on the physical construction site. This in turn can minimize errors compared with manual process and result in more accurate installation of systems and equipment in field layout work.

The announcement was made today at International Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigerating (AHR) Expo in New York and at World of Concrete in Las Vegas.   

Trimble Field Points was designed for building construction contractors or engineers who want to easily create field points within their CAD or building information modeling (BIM) files. Trimble Field Points provides fluid creation of field points for most construction applications including anchor bolt locations, curtain wall attachments and hanger or sleeve locations via simple, intuitive point creation workflows. Users can import field point data into the Trimble Field Points software, while staying within their preferred design platform, to assist with their QA/QC workflows for comparison in the model.

"As the industry continues to push the utilization of BIM practices for cost savings and project data collaboration, connecting the digital model to the field is a crucial piece of this process," said Pat Bohle, general manager of the MEP Division within the Trimble Buildings Group. "Trimble Field Points provides a cost effective tool for contractors and those involved in the building construction process, while eliminating the need for extra steps through its integration with a variety of BIM tools."

Adding further value, data from Trimble Field Points also integrates directly with Trimble Field Link construction layout software. When the two products are connected to Trimble Robotic Total Stations, they provide a best-in-class building construction positioning system, enabling users to easily lay out their construction projects with task-based, metric-rich workflows.  

Trimble Field Points is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2014 through Trimble's Authorized Distributors of layout solutions from Trimble Buildings' MEP and General Contractor / Construction Manager Divisions. 

About Trimble Buildings Group
Trimble Buildings, a part of Trimble's Engineering and Construction segment, is a world leader in technology for construction project optimization across the design-build-operate (DBO) lifecycle. With solutions that span the brands of Meridian Systems, Plancal, SketchUp, Tekla, Trade Service, Vico Software and WinEst, Trimble helps the construction industry improve productivity, increase efficiencies and maximize the profitability of projects, from simulation to renovation. Used in over 140 countries around the world and supported by a global dealer and distribution partner network, Trimble technology is a mainstay of the building industry. Information on Trimble Buildings' DBO portfolio is available at: http://buildings.trimble.com.

About Trimble
Trimble applies technology to make field and mobile workers in businesses and government significantly more productive. Solutions are focused on applications requiring position or location--including surveying, construction, agriculture, fleet and asset management, public safety and mapping. In addition to utilizing positioning technologies, such as GPS, lasers and optics, Trimble solutions may include software content specific to the needs of the user. Wireless technologies are utilized to deliver the solution to the user and to ensure a tight coupling of the field and the back office. Founded in 1978, Trimble is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif. For more information, visit: www.trimble.com.

Topcon X-63i excavator indicate system increases productivity, accuracy

LIVERMORE, Calif., USA/ CAPELLE A/D IJSSEL, The Netherlands – January 22, 2014 –Topcon Positioning Group announces an addition to its machine control line of products – the X-63i 3D indicate system for excavators.

The new system combines “Topcon’s advanced GNSS global positioning technology and machine sensors with the heavy-duty GX-60 touchscreen color display to provide an easy-to-use system for increased excavation efficiency,” said Kris Maas, machine control product marketing manager.
The X-63i is upgradeable to Topcon’s fully automatic excavator systems. Additionally, the system’s MC-i3 GNSS receiver is Sitelink3D ‘ready’ providing the option of integration into Topcon’s real-time job site management solution. 
“Topcon’s X-63i provides the operator with all the information needed to expedite excavation tasks. The X-63i enables the operator to ‘see’ the machine’s exact position in relation to the site, enabling precise positioning over utility centerlines. In real time, the operator can also see the position of the teeth of the bucket compared to the finish design which is very helpful in deep cuts, blind excavations or when working around structures,” Maas said.
“Simply put, X-63i gets you to grade faster and keeps you there.”

Additional information is available at: topconpositioning.com/x-63i

About Topcon Positioning Group
Topcon Positioning Group is headquartered in Livermore, California, USA (topconpositioning.com). Its European head office is in Capelle a/d IJssel, The Netherlands (topcon-positioning.eu). Topcon Positioning Group designs, manufactures and distributes precise positioning products and solutions for the global surveying, construction, agriculture, civil engineering, mapping and GIS, asset management and mobile control markets.  Its brands include Topcon, Sokkia, 2LS and MAGNET. Topcon Corporation (topcon.com), founded in 1932, is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (7732).

Augmented-reality contact lenses to be human-ready at CES

Credit: Timothy Hogan

Anyone who has ever dreamed up a sci-fi future in which neon interfaces float in front of us and information exists not on screens, but projected onto our eyes, is likely watching the blossoming wearable technology market with great anticipation. With its iOptik system, wearables startup Innovega has sighted in on that futuristic vision, designing special contact lenses that will read the light from projectors fitted to glasses. In doing so, it's inching closer to a product that may rival even Google in its wearable ambition.

Optical head-mounted displays, or devices that augment our vision either through full-blown glasses or fixed optics that float screens in our peripheral sight, have come to epitomize the cutting edge of wearable tech. One of the bigger hurdles now is that while the technology may be powerful, the form factor is still that of a goofy computer-glasses hybrid graphed onto our face, and not a single high-profile product has had a chance to test the murky waters of the mass market.

Google's Glass wearable has yet to exit its beta "Explorer Program" -- though prescription lenses appear to be on the way -- and still tends to freak people out and keep the critics testing it in the wild apprehensive of wearing it in public settings.

Innovega, which showcased its unique iOptik augmented reality (AR) device on the head of a mannequin at last year's CES, is confident that it's getting closer to something we'll actually want to wear, but with the unconventional caveat of contact lenses, an untested stipulation at the moment. The company, headed up by CEO Stephen Willey, will be back at CES 2014 next week, but this time with a fully functioning prototype. The device, a pair of sleek eyeglasses capable of overlaying digital media and transparent AR data onto the accompanying lenses, will be worn by Innovega staff on the floors of CES.

(Credit: Innovega)
But why does one need to slip something over our eyeballs to use the iOptik system? Because by utilizing the specialized lenses to help users focus on both close and faraway objects -- an issue when putting panoramic images inches from the eyes -- in conjunction with the glasses to project the media and overlays, Innovega is able to do two things when most wearables do just one.

First, it can project "glance-able" displays, like Google Glass does exclusively where data is pushed to the periphery. But by utilizing the contact lenses with the glasses, it can also project a full-screen HUD, in other words operate in a heads-up display mode similar to what goggle wearables like the gaming-focused Oculus Rift offer.

The goal with that interface versatility is to deliver something both powerful for everyday use in activities like driving and exercising, but simultaneously absorbing for game playing, movie watching, and app using. "Whatever runs on your smartphone would run on your eyewear," Willey said in an interview with CNET. "At full HD. Whether it's a window or immersive."

An example of the "glance-able" display mode of Innovega's iOptik system that projects transparent data from a user's smartphone onto his or her field of vision.

(Credit: Innovega)
As for the physical tech involved, the prototype glasses -- at the moment slim and weighing no more than a standard pair of heavy-duty Oakleys -- are fitted with micro-projectors and nothing else. Willey points out that obvious additions, depending on who Innovega partners with down the line, include audio devices, touch control, a camera, an accelerometer, and much of the hardware now present in Google Glass. That would inevitably make the device heavier.

(Credit: Innovega)
The contact lenses, on the other hand, are of a more complex breed. They can be worn without the glasses, Willey stressed, and only function with the iOptik software when one peers through the company's paired glasses while the device is activated. To make the prototypes, Innovega customized the standard contact lens manufacturing process with a special design and unique filter.

"All the usual optics in the eyewear are taken away and there is a sub-millimeter lens right in the center," Willey explained. "It's shaped, so the outside of the lens is shaped to your prescription if you need one and the very center of the lens is a bump that allows you to see incredibly well half an inch from your eye."

The second component involved is the optical filter that directs light. "Light coming from outside the world is shunted to your normal prescription. Light from that very near display goes through the center of the lens, the optical filter," Willey said.

As an added benefit, the contact lenses can also serve the purpose of vision correction as normal contact lenses do. That means those already using them -- a growing fraction of the global population that relies on vision correction that also, Innovega claims, includes more than 100 million contact lens users -- can swap them out for prescription Innovega lenses. The company will rely on a partnership with a major contact lens manufacturer, though has not yet disclosed the status of any relationships with any eyewear companies.

Because it's developing something you physically insert onto your body, the Food and Drug Administration is involved, but not at the approval level. Willey stresses that its contact lens will need 501(k) market clearance, a simpler process. "It's called a market clearance because contact lenses have already been approved many times over, with many different designs," he said.

Offering a time frame, Willey estimates that Innovega will apply to the FDA in late 2014 or early 2015.


Right now, the prototype syncs with Android smartphones and will down the line, Willey posits, be able to allow developers to design specific experiences for whatever kinds of devices in which the iOptik system ends up in the future.

Because Innovega has no intention of building out its own app ecosystem or handling the wholesale manufacturing of either the glasses or the contact lenses, it will sell its iOptik system to partners that will end up deciding what kind of functionality -- and thus what kinds of additional hardware add-ons like gesture control and cameras -- will be necessary depending on the use cases, from sports to gaming. "We'll need a partner that will take our design, brand it, and distribute it," Willey said.

The company has thus far been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and by an undisclosed Asian company that has helped steer the development of the glasses with the hopes that its launch in Eastern markets will prove a pivotal point for wearable tech in countries like China and South Korea.

Whatever form Innovega's wearable takes when it eventually hits the market, its approach that relies less on an app ecosystem and more on functionality and form factor is a unique one that could give it an edge over the dozens of up-and-coming optical wearables. "We've talked to all of them, from the Oakleys to the Lenovos and Electronic Arts," Willey said. "One sees it as electronic sunglasses. Another sees it as what comes after the tablet." Given the iOptik system's scope, there's no reason why it can't be both.

Source:CNET click here 


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