3D Fax – Binary Files over Facsimile and the Michelangelo Project
3D Fax is a term that has taken on two meanings – the first was a product introduced in the mid 1990s by InfoImaging, with the ability to transmit binary data over fax machines – a pre-internet method of sending complex data.
A project to record structures in their 3D format has been a project launched by Standford researchers at first labelled the “3D Fax Machine Project”, and now the “Digital Michelangelo Project”
Table of Contents
- InfoImaging’s 3D Fax
- 3D Fax Machine Project and the Digital Michelangelo Project
- Additional Resources on 3D Faxing
- Other Historical Facsimile Inventions
Created by InfoImaging Technologies to run on Windows, the software would be used to encode the binary file onto a printed page – that page would then be transmitted via fax machine, where it could be decoded back into binary format and turned into a computer file.
While it was revolutionary at the time (allowing people to transmit files before computer modems were popular) there were a number of problems that were presented.
- The need to have 100% reliability from printing to faxing to decoding – if one part of the information does not transmit, then in most cases the file transmitted would be completely unreliable.
- The sender would required a printer and fax and the receiver would require a fax and scanner. All equipment would need to be of high quality
- There was a limit of 50kb per page transmitted – anything further would require multiple sheets
InfoImaging’s 3D fax was mostly rendered obsolete with the widespread adoption of the internet.
Grown out of the interest for 3D recordings of real life objects, researchers from Stanford University have embarked on a project to build a “3D Fax Machine” (since renamed The Digital Michelangelo Project) with the intention of recording Michelangelo’s works in 3D data.
Since 2004 the project has been mostly stalled due to the need of extra funding.
Samples of the work can be seen at the project’s archive of 3D models.
PC Mag Definition of 3D Faxing
thefreelibrary.com – InfoImaging Technologies Introduces 3D Faxing Technology….
Wikipedia – Entry on 3D Faxing
Stanford’s Project to Build a 3D Fax Machine
Stanford’s Digital Michelangelo Project