CyberExtruder is on the verge of deploying a technology that can take a single, two-dimensional photograph from multiple angles and create a front-facing, three-dimensional version.
“We’re the only company in the world to create a morphable, three-dimensional model from a two-dimensional photograph in real time. Effectively, we can turn a face around so that it can be more recognizable,” said Larry Gardner, chief executive officer (CEO) of CyberExtruder.
The three-year-old software development company participates in the business incubator program at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).
The company attracted worldwide attention after September 11, 2001, for creating the image of Osama Bin Laden for distribution on the Internet. Visitors could (and still can) download the image for free from the company’s website (www.cyberextruder.com). “The character was installed in a number of video games, the most notable ones being “Unreal Tournament” and “The Sims,” said Gardner. To date, the image has been downloaded more than 600,000 times.
More recently, the company received an award for best emerging technology at the New Jersey Technology Council Venture Fair. “The program was competitive,” said Gardner. Ninety companies applied to the fair; 50 were accepted, 25 made presentations and six were given awards.
Gardner expects CyberExtruder’s new software program to be of interest to security agencies involved with homeland security in the United States, especially the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) and the Transportation Safety Authority (TSA). These and other government agencies have thousands of photographs of foreign nationals that can’t be used to their potential due to limitations of the photograph’s angle.
The difference between CyberExtruder’s product and similar ones on the market is that theirs requires no special hardware, no human intervention and only seconds to process each photograph. “This means a vast savings in time and money because you can turn on the machine, not wait five to twenty minutes to get results and not require a trained technician to perform the process,” said Gardner.
A patent is pending on the technology and Gardner is speaking to federal agencies involved with homeland security about deploying the technology. The company also has already signed more than a dozen agreements with entertainment companies that want to license the technology for applications in wireless markets, video games, advertising and promotion via the Internet. One such agreement is with Samsung Electronics.
The company recently relocated from Long Island to Newark and has been especially pleased with the move. “Being in the program for the Enterprise Development Center (EDC) at NJIT has been terrific,” said Gardner. “We have 50 NJIT student interns who are studying information technology and computer science, working on eight projects. Having them work for us has allowed us to jump ahead in our work.”
Other positive features of a New Jersey location, he said, include access to markets, proximity to a sizable scientific community at NJIT, access to an active technology community and a much easier commute for the principals who are New Jersey residents.
Tim Parr, Ph.D., chief technology officer for CyberExtruder, lives in Ridgewood, Jack Ives, chief operating officer, is a resident of Clifton; and Gardner also lives in Ridgewood. Parr has a postdoctoral degree in computer vision from the University of Manchester, England. Ives, a systems engineer, has been involved with the Internet since 1993. Gardner, who has worked in the architect and design industry, is the former managing director of Vitra Inc., a high-design furniture company headquartered in Basil, Switzerland.