Local company building database of 3-D educational imagesWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Local technology company TechTol Imaging has been busy expanding its online collection of 3-D educational images in preparation for the upcoming school year.
The free database, available at 3DTOAD.com, features images in 16 categories, including dissections, skeletons, geology, molecules and more. About half the images are also viewable with anaglyph (red and blue) 3-D glasses.
The name 3DTOAD.com is an anagram for TechTol’s Online Academic Database.
The collection is unique, said Zak Ward, vice president of visual applications at TechTol.
“You can scour the Internet and you won’t find an education website like this anywhere in the world,” Ward said. “You’ll get a couple college libraries, but you have to enter a password and you can’t get on it. We’ve really started to develop a centralized location for these images.”
The site has been accessed by users in the United States, India, Japan, Great Britain and Germany, Ward said.
“It’s exciting,” Ward said. “I believe if we get a lot of people using this and keep getting the appropriate feedback to make it better, this could literally help a lot of schools across the globe.”
Items have been donated from Owens Community College, the University of Toledo, Fossil Park in Sylvania and Reverend Guitars in Detroit. The images are captured using a circular studio with 16 cameras shooting simultaneously.
TechTol, located at the Toledo campus of Owens Community College, also recently partnered with the Wood County Historical Society.
“They’ve got so much stuff, from the Civil War to old farm machinery to old tools to arrowheads and Indian stuff,” Ward said. “Within the next week or so, we’ll be starting to tap into an amazing array of historical items.”
Randy Brown, curator of the Wood County Historical Museum, said TechTol’s 3-D images will be useful for community presentations as well as giving people outside of the area access to the museum’s collection.
“I think we’ll be able to get a lot of good use out of it,” Brown said.
Ward sees the site as an asset for any school struggling with its budget.
“Here’s a free solution a teacher can pull up with a projector and point things out to students. It’s literally putting all these things at a teacher’s fingertips. And that same free tool teachers can use in the classroom, the student can go home and still use,” Ward said. “That’s the best part about this, in my personal opinion, is that students can take this home and can extend that learning to show their family what they’re doing and hopefully that will spark a little bit more learning.”
The company is hoping teachers check out the site and let TechTol know what they think.
“What are some things you’d like to see on here or what things would be useful?” said Ward, who graduated from Perrysburg High School. “We’re encouraging that feedback so we can make this product better for everybody.”
Ward and TechTol CEO Phil Cox recently hired three employees to help with the workload. In the future, the company, which is seeking corporate sponsors, plans to offer a platform for smartphones and iPads as well as interactive lessons. This fall, TechTol Imaging will be awarded the Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence Hall of Fame’s Startup Innovation Award.
“We’ve got so much more stuff to put up,” Ward said. “We didn’t know what direction we were going to take at first. We didn’t know how it would be received. But people were like, ‘Wow, I wish I had had this is college.’ Reactions like that have given us encouragement to make it the way it is today. We hope we can make it even better as we incorporate a lot of the great ideas we get into the site. We are literally building this for the people.”
For more information, visit www.3DTOAD.com.