The client was in the process of qualifying a new USB controller to upgrade an existing 3D Photo Scan application. The upgrade required a USB controller platform capable of hosting a minimum of 200 digital cameras, and a maximum of 250 for specific projects. Aside from the obvious performance requirement, the controller solution would also need to be compact, for easy integration into a compact workstation environment, and be easy to setup and configure as needed. The third requirement was the controller provide USB 3.0 connectivity to ensure seamless compatibility with their Canon EOS digital cameras.

3D Photo Scanning Applications

3D Photo Scan technology has been widely adopted by a wide range of professions, ranging from scientific fields such as archaeology, game developers, structural and mechanical engineering, and filmmakers.

3D photo scanners can capture and map any object in 3- dimensions using an array of digital cameras, and transfer it into digital form for a variety of purposes, such as rendering, design and animation. Professional grade Photo scanners employ banks of digital SLR cameras strategically arranged to photograph and object from all viewable angles. The photos are then “stitched” together by a software application into a complete 3D object.

3D Photoscan and 3D print.

Initial Trials

The client’s spec required that the USB controller support the USB 3.0 standard in order to support the camera model they had selected for the build, and provide as many independent ports as possible. The client’s initial trials focused on a wide range of commercially available 4-port USB 3.0 cards. The test environment would employ up to 5 cards, each configured to host multiple cameras via USB hubs.
Each card was hosted by a separate system, which was then linked to a central workstation via a 1GbE network. Each individual card would have to deliver the bandwidth and stability necessary to utilize all 40-50 cameras, simultaneously. Unfortunately, the trials produced less than ideal results. Few of the available cards could deliver the required transfer bandwidth, and those that could were unable to consistently sustain it for the duration of a shoot.

The Solution: HighPoint RocketU 1144D

The HighPoint RocketU 1144D is the industry’s fastest UBS 3.0 controller. It is powered by our unique per-port performance architecture, which forms the core of all HighPoint USB-based storage and connectivity solutions. Each of the RocketU 1144D’s four Type-A ports is powered by a dedicated USB 3.0 controller, and delivers up to 5Gb/s of transfer bandwidth. The PCIe 3.0 x4 host interface compliments the four dedicated ports, and together, are capable of delivering consistent, high-speed connectivity for up to 255 devices. In addition, the RocketU 1144D was designed for plug-and-play applications. It can be easily installed into any PCIe 2.0/3.0 x4/x8/x16 slot, and is natively supported by most operating system platforms, including Windows, macOS and leading Linux Distributions.

The client’s 3D Photo Scan environment was anchored to a workstation that hosted the software application charged with assembling the 3D objects. This workstation was then linked via a 1GbE network to 5 sub-systems, each of which was designed to host a single USB 3.0 card.

For the qualification tests, each RU1144D card was configured to host up to 50 Canon EOS cameras, via four Anker AH232 USB 3.0 Hubs (each connected to one of the card’s dedicated USB 3.0 ports).

HighPoint 3D Photoscan Solution Supports 250 Cameras via Anker AH232 USB 3.0 Hubs.

The customer then proceeded with a series of capture tests, to validate the claimed transfer bandwidth, verify stability, quality of the captured images, and final output, the 3D object.

The RocketU 1144D excelled in all categories. Due to HighPoint’s unique performance focused architecture, each card was able to support I/O for up to 50 cameras, simultaneously. The four dedicated 5Gb/s USB 3.0 ports were designed to work both independently and in conjunction, and delivered consistent, high-performance transfers without signal loss or dropping a single device.

Building Your 3D Photo Scanning Solution

HighPoint delivers a wide range of USB-based controller and connectivity solutions for professional OEM/ODM. Clients tasked with developing 3D Photo Scanning solutions can select from any number of our USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen 2, or Thunderbolt™ 3 to USB 3.1 controller and connectivity products for the foundation of the project.

USB 3.1 Gen 2 4x 10Gb/s Connectivity Solution

HighPoint manufactures a comprehensive portfolio of USB 3.1 Gen 2 storage and connectivity solutions, ranging from simple USB controller upgrades to professional-grade RAID enclosures and pre-configured RAID storage.

Our RocketU 1344A is an ideal platform for USB-based 3D Photo Scanning solutions. Like its predecessor, the RocketU 1144D, it features four independent USB ports, each powered by a dedicated USB controller. In the case of the RocketU 1344A, each port is capable of delivering 10Gb/s of transfer bandwidth; twice the performance capability of the RocketU 1144D. It also utilizes a PCIe 3.0 x4 host interface, which ensures consistent, uninterrupted transfers for each port.

Portable Thunderbolt™ 3 to 4x 10Gb/s USB 3.1 Solution

The RocketStor 6661A-4USB combines our Thunderbolt™ 3 PCIe expansion chassis with the RocketU 1344A, and is capable of delivering dedicated 4x 10Gb/s transfer bandwidth via a single Thunderbolt™ 3 Type-C port. The ultra-thin, lightweight form- factor is ideal for portable computing platforms such as Macbooks, Razor notebooks, and compact workstations.