Think you know what a spider looks like up close, well, Indiana University of Pennsylvania Geoscience alumni Mark Smith ’11 and Daniel Saftner ’11 think differently.
Smith and Saftner have been hard at work bringing “The Macropod” into the commercial world.
The Macropod is an automated image stacking solution that compiles as many as 500+ single-frame photographs into one image so that the final picture is completely in focus, in high-resolution, three dimensional and in color.
Although that may sound a tad bit complex, Smith and Saftner made sure that in their development of the Macropod, it could stay user-friendly.
“The device is configured so that any user can operate it, even if they have no IT or photography background,” they told Kickstarter.com. “The essentials, i.e., lighting, exposure time, ISO, aperture and focal limitations are all made easy. This means that scientists can spend more time conducting research and less time learning how to be a good photographer.”
Although Smith and Saftner were part of a team that created the Macropod, they certainly haven’t forgotten where they came from and how they got where they are now.
“To say it simply, IUP Geoscience was the right choice for me,” Smith said.
“When I was very young I wanted a telescope, a rock collection, a microscope, etc.," recalls Smith. "I had a natural curiosity about science and about how things worked. As I grew up, I wouldn’t say I lost my curiosity, but society definitely convinced me to forget about it. That was until I took The Dynamic Earth class at IUP. Dr. Jon Lewis taught the lecture classes and Dr. Michael Poage taught the lab classes. The Dynamic Earth is how I came to know my good friend and business partner, Daniel Saftner.”
As for Saftner, he couldn’t agree more.
“I can’t say enough about my experience as a student within the Geoscience Department of IUP,” he said. “Before starting my undergraduate career in 2007, I had never expected that I would one day be a Geology major."
"During my first year at IUP, I was undecided as to what my major was going to be, so I took many general courses, ranging from Art History to The Dynamic Earth. The Dynamic Earth was a class taught by Dr. Jon Lewis of the Geoscience department which basically covered the study of the earth and its processes - including such exciting topics as earthquakes and volcanoes. How could someone NOT love these topics?!"
"Before finishing my first year without a major, I also took the course, Oceans and Atmospheres, which was taught by Katie Farnsworth of the Geoscience Department. With these two intro Geoscience lectures, accompanied by their respective laboratory sections, I had met four professors within the department. These professors were so excited about the career paths that they had chosen, and I knew that I was ready to make the same decision.”
Like any other technology, the Macropod is and will be in constant development and upgrade. Smith and Saftner have plans to improve their invention for the foreseeable future.
“The next generation Macropod will undergo changes that will allow it to be further subsidized and compatible with 3D printing,” they said. “This type of optical precision is the future of 3D printing and unmanned exploration.”
To learn more about the Macropod and see examples of its work, visit their website at http://www.macroscopicsolutions.com.
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