Herndon Company Develops Imaging Technology

Herndon Company Develops Imaging Technology

V3 Makes Debut

An actress sits on a bench in front of the Herndon Depot and Museum a chilly Friday, eating her lunch and checking out a nearby cyclist, also an actor, having some trouble with his tires. As a camera focuses in on all the action, Christopher Mayhew, president and chief operating officer of Vision III Imaging Inc., is tucked into a tent watching the scene unfold in real time.

While the actress and actor were the focus of the vignette, it was a device mounted on the camera that was the real star.

It's a new lens, developed by Mayhew's company, which makes images appear more realistic and 3-dimensional without the need for high-definition viewing equipment. The footage being shot last week will be used to shop the technology to anyone who works in motion pictures, broadcast television, sports broadcasting, television advertising and even video games.

"I want it to become a standard," said Mayhew. "To add this to any moving imaging; to be in everything, like stereo is now."

IT HAS TAKEN the Herndon company four years to get to the point where it is ready to market its V3 parallax-scanning moving optical element camera lenses and software code, which has received 13 United States patents. The technology will be marketed under the brand name V3.

It began as an idea Mayhew had while he was working as an animator. The McLean High School graduate began exploring how the brain receives images and translates them into more 3-D-like images.

"We're taking the parallax, which is what the brain does to see 3-D," Mayhew said.

Parallax, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is the apparent displacement or difference in apparent position, of an object caused by actual change of position of the point of observation.

"The image is more realistic, has more texture and depth, but you can view it on a regular TV," said Walter Pollard, business development for Vision III Imaging. "The end result is sharper images."

THE LENS developed by Vision III Imaging can fit on any high-definition, broadcast video or 35 mm motion picture camera. The V3 technology can be turned up, turned down or turned off depending on the look trying to be achieved. In addition, the technology will work in color as well as black and white, and also for 3-D animation.

"We're using it in multiple environments," Pollard, an Arlington resident, said. "We're also working on technology for in video games, which is a huge market."

The company, which employs Mayhew and Pollard full time, as well as two part-time employees, also envisions other uses for the V3 technology possibly in the arenas of medicine and the military.

Pollard said one of the reasons it took so long to be able to go to market with their lens, was that the company had to wait for technology to actually catch up with their vision.

"Technology is digital now, when we started it was originally analog," Pollard said. "We knew digital would be the best to work in, but the technology didn't exist four years ago. We had it wait for it."

Besides testing prototypes, the company worked on its software to be used for live-action video games.

"I ANTICIPATE this will turn into a profitable business," said Kendall Wilson, one of Vision III Imaging's investors. "They don't have to make anything. They can license out everything and have someone else to build and rent it out."

Wilson, an engineer, heard about Vision III Imaging through word of mouth and decided to invest in the company because of his interest in technology development companies.

"It could create change in the whole visual imaging world," Wilson said of V3.