Nomoko, based in Zurich, Switzerland, has developed a 3D capture system based on their proprietary 1,500 MP camera and software. The company’s goal is to create large-scale 3D models, which function as digital twins with the real world. They have been creating models of large areas and cities, and after testing in Germany and Switzerland, Nomoko has released their product and exhibited it at CeBIT in Hanover this year.
The company says they have a complete spatial platform that can incorporate additional data from their partners such as geo-spatial information, materials, etc. They provide a base for their customers to build interactive applications using the digital twin data.
A presentation by Nomoko’s founder Nilson Kufus gives a more detailed explanation about the purpose and operational aspects of the solution. Identifying the right space for data gathering, analyzing the exact location coordinates, and understanding them are the major problems facing companies who want to provide spatial applications. To serve these companies, Nomoko has developed two solutions, one being a high-resolution camera and the other one is a platform to develop the picture into a format which is useful for various end-user industries. Traditionally, says Kufus, the industry has been relying on cameras with resolutions of 30–50 MP. However, it’s estimated that the human eye can see 576 MP. It’s Nomoko’s belief that in order to provide enough visual information to satisfy people, a 3D camera is required that works in a different mode and has much better resolution. Nomoko says after three years of research, they have been able to develop a camera that can photograph and measure automotive parts, or entire cities at a resolution of 1,500 MP and capture detail to the sub-centimeter level.
The next major problem for Nomoko is the availability of software and algorithms capable of scaling with the huge amount of data produced by their camera for 3D models. The available software, as of today, have been developed for data captured with cameras of 50 MP camera or less. Thus, when the resolution increases by more than 10 times, the computational power requirement increases by 100 times for one set of images. A city can require pictures of 7.5 petabytes volume, which would overwhelm most systems in use today. Given these challenges, Nomoko plans to sell captured data rather than systems. The company developed a distributed 3D modeling pipeline that can manage and integrate the giant datasets required for smart cities. The system allows data to be interactively interrogated and will enable customers to build applications on top of the data.
In his presentation, Kufus says customers are coming to them for applications they had not really thought of when they founded the company. For instance, automotive companies have contacted them because they need city data, and also the manufacturing industry is interested in the ability of their camera to capture information at the centimeter level for CMM (coordinate measuring machines).
The development of the camera and the software to analyze and process the images can provide a variety of solutions to industries. The gaming industry can develop a wonderful game using the city-scapes provided by this solution, or an architect can actual location models to place their proposed building. Instead, architects today who want to place their design into the context of its actual location, are still rebuilding the CAD model as a simplified 3D model in order for it to fit into a larger model. It is Nomoko’s ambition to build a system that can accommodate all the information in the CAD file.
VR is also an important focus for the company, but they admit that VR is a young industry and startups may not be able to afford expensive model building services.
Nomoko’s long range goal is to sell location data to companies who want to build applications on it. As a result, they hope to be able to appeal to more customers including startups as economies of scale kick in and make their data more affordable.
What do we think?
Nomoko has big ambitions, really big and the company is just starting out. Their camera represents a huge achievement, but no less impressive is the system they describe for managing the data. The company has been voted one of the top 100 startups in Switzerland for 2017. We’re looking forward to seeing what comes next.