Monday, October 19, 2009

Facility Tour with the Upper Falls Retired Activities Club

If you've talked to anyone at Direct Dimensions then you know that we are very excited about what we do and love to share stories about our latest technologies, capabilities, or projects with anyone that is interested in hearing about them. Over the years that has led to some wonderful guests and facility tours with everyone from artists associations to historic preservation groups to mechanical engineering groups, and many tours for college and high school classes.

A few weeks ago we had a wonderful tour group in to visit with us and we want to share that experience with you now.

The Upper Falls Retired Activities Club (UFRAC) started in the 1980’s when a group of recently retired gentlemen would get together periodically to hike or canoe. Eventually some women joined the club and the activities became more varied, including lunches and tours. The club is a diverse group from different backgrounds and different Maryland towns.

On selected Thursdays of the year they all get together to enjoy each others company and learn about a variety of things. UFRAC has toured Under Armour's headquarters in downtown Baltimore, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and most recently a prosthetics limb fabrication lab.

Back in 2006, Peg Walters, a UFRAC member, read a newspaper article that mentioned Direct Dimensions’ 3D scan of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. She clipped it out thinking it might be an interesting tour. Unfortunately daily life and scheduling got in the way for a while, but she finally contact us and scheduled the tour date.

Last month on September 24th, a group of about 25 UFRAC retirees visited Direct Dimensions and quickly became quite excited to hear about our many interesting projects and see our various 3D scanning and imaging technologies. Our founder and president Michael Raphael provided a thorough overview of the ways in which 3D imaging can be utilized for capturing real world objects into 3D digital forms for medical applications, museum art & sculpture, architecture, and various industrial applications.

While most of the retirees only casually use computers, it was surprisingly refreshing to hear their comments suggesting a good understanding of how these technologies work and why we perform these projects. As members of a demographic who are supposedly reluctant to embrace cutting edge technologies, we were really interested in how they would react to what we showed them.

We are happy to say that they loved the tour. In fact many even said it was the best tour they’d been on. And since many of us here at DDI are familiar with how amazing NASA Goddard is – that means a lot to us! More than enjoying the tour, the UFRAC group seemed to really “get” what we do and how it can be so beneficial in everything from scanning the famous Liberty Bell to measuring some greasy industrial gear.

The tour concluded with the attendees each getting their faces imaged in 3D with our fantastic new camera-based imaging system. We were particularly interested in seeing their reactions to this new and very exciting technology for reasons we’ll discuss in future postings – so stay tuned.

It was a great morning and we loved hosting them!

If you know of any groups that might be interested in touring Direct Dimensions, feel free to contact us at