Fuel3D, a U.K. startup spun out of Oxford University that’s commercializing 3D scanning technology, has secured a $1.1 million development contract to create a 3D medical imaging system. The money comes from the Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare), an NHS England initiative that provides funds to U.K. businesses to come up with new healthcare technologies.
It’s not the first time Fuel3D has taken in SBRI Heathcare funds. Its initial scanning technology, for 3D imaging wounds, was developed in 2012 with backing from the SBRI. At that time the startup was known as Eykona Ltd but has since morphed into Fuel3D.
The new SBRI Healthcare contract will be used to develop Fuel3D’s scanner technology for “a range of therapy applications and adoption in the NHS and international healthcare markets”, it said today. Medical fields that could benefit from the 3D scanning tech include orthotics, prosthetics and plastic surgery, it added.
Last year Fuel3D ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund an affordable, high-res scanner that can turn real world objects into 3D models with accurate geometry and colour. This device did not have a healthcare-specific focus, but rather targeted various potential industry and more general consumer use-cases.
The Kickstarter campaign for that handheld scanner pulled in more than $325,000. Fuel3D also went on to take in a further $2.6 million in VC backing from a syndicate of private investors. Fueled by all that, it has talked about the possibility of filing for an IPO in 2015.
Fuel3D said today it is continuing to develop the consumer-grade branch of its business in parallel with a fresh medical imaging focus — noting that it expects to ship the first handheld 3D scanner units to Kickstarter backers in the “next few weeks”.
“Our core technology was originally developed with medical imaging applications in mind, so we are delighted to have secured this contract in order to ensure that, under Fuel3D, the Eykona scanning technology continues to play a role in the healthcare sector,” noted Fuel3D CEO, Stuart Mead, in a statement.
“This contract runs in parallel with our plans to deliver a consumer-grade 3D scanner, and we are looking forward to shipping the first units to our Kickstarter backers within the next few weeks.”