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Scanner Startup

Rengarajan Sudharsanan became an entrepreneur after spending much of his career working for Boeing Co. In 2016, the native of India started along with two former co-workers a company called Acqubit in Santa Clarita to develop the hardware and software for a scanner that can create 3D images. “We were first-time entrepreneurs and had no experience with building a company,” Sudharsanan said. From its start until this month, Acqubit had been located at the Santa Clarita Business Incubator, a joint project of the city, College of the Canyons and the Small Business Development Center located at the school. It was there that Sudharsanan learned about operating a business – from writing a business plan to financing to accounting to marketing. Acqubit has graduated early from the incubator program after being there for two years and nine months. Acqubit has moved into an office and assembly space in a building on Avenue Scott. Santa Clarita grown Holly Schroeder, chief executive of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp., works with the city on knowing what space is available to keep businesses in the city. “We knew they were looking to grow and wanted to make sure they stayed in the Santa Clarita Valley,” Schroeder said. “They wanted to stay. He (Sudharsanan) has been a resident here for a long time and wanted to continue to grow his company here.” Catherine Grooms, director of the Small Business Development Center at College of the Canyons, said that Acqubit’s management was a pleasure to work with. Many times, business owners start too optimistic about the time it takes to grow a company, she said, but Sudharsanan and his partners were very patient working through that. “They were very committed and very dedicated to launching the business and making it a reality,” she added. Acqubit is one of four startups that have graduated from the incubator. The others are Nuhubit Software Studios, a developer of mobile games that teach math; Outlyer Technologies, developer of AdVRtas, an interactive 360-degree rich media advertising technology; and YourVillage, a provider of online parenting classes for young children and teenagers. The incubator currently has three startup companies located in it. Denise Covert, an economic development associate with Santa Clarita, said the city was thrilled with how Acqubit has grown and appreciated being part of its success. “They came into the Santa Clarita Business Incubator with an idea and a prototype,” Covert wrote in an email to the Business Journal. “After a little over two years with us, they’ve established themselves as a sustainable business in the technology sector.” Multiple markets Sudharsanan, and his two co-founders, Gregory Campbell and Emilio Quezada, all worked together at Spectrolab Inc., the Boeing subsidiary in Sylmar that makes solar panels for satellites and land-based installations. While at Spectrolab, Sudharsanan worked on technology that he would later use at Acqubit, primarily sensors and light detection and ranging equipment, or lidar, that is used to create 3D representations of an object. The team at Acqubit has put their expertise into Matrix, a hand-held camera (or scanner) that captures 3D data through three sensors – a laser scanner, a color camera and an inertial measurement unit – and then uses proprietary software to stitch it together into a 3D image of the object that is viewable on a tablet connected to the camera. There are different shades of color that tell how far away the object is, with green light showing closer while a blue shade is farther away. The company has targeted the construction industry as the first market for Matrix so that builders at a worksite can know if a project is matching the design, Sudharsanan said. It is currently still field testing the units it has assembled from components made by contract manufacturers and hopes to start selling them next year, he added. The scanner is meant as a replacement for traditional blueprints used to show measurements when constructing a building. “You don’t need paper anymore,” Sudharsanan said. “You will have a digital version of that.” Another market that Acqubit foresees for Matrix is police departments at crime scene investigations. Police currently use tripod-mounted laser scanners that are expensive and require specialized training to use. But with a handheld Matrix, there is no longer the need for investigators to take hand measurements at, for example, an accident on the freeway and cause delays while doing it, Sudharsanan said. “In this case, they can take 30 minutes and have all the data they want,” he added. The military has shown some interest in Acqubit’s technology. The company will modify a camera for one military program and expects that other military uses will follow. “Even though our focus is on commercial, we are getting traction with military applications, but it will be a different version of it,” Sudharsanan said.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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