Depth Perception | Paul Powers from Physna

Image search technology has become an important tool for a wide range of industries and applications, ranging from research, law enforcement, e-commerce, historical archiving, and more.

And yet, as sophisticated and useful as this technology has become, it has one severe limitation. It’s flat. Only two-dimensional data can be searched. Yet, we live in a three-dimensional world.

This is a problem Paul Powers understood personally as a patent attorney. “We couldn’t find the 3d models that people were using to steal intellectual property,” he says. “We could find anything else—plagiarism, 2d pictures, whatever, but as soon as it was three dimensional, forget it.”

When he discovered the emergence of 3d search technology, he became excited. And when he discovered how underdeveloped it was, he started his own company, Physna.

On this edition of UpTech Report, Paul tells us how his efforts to solve this one particular problem turned into a solution for seemingly endless use cases, and he also talks about the relationship to his other venture,, an open 3d modeling community.

More information:

Paul Powers is the Co-Founder and CEO of Physna, the industry leader in geometric deep learning technology. An experienced technology founder, Powers founded Physna in 2015. In 2019, Powers was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the brightest young entrepreneurs in the United States in the Forbes 30 Under 30. Powers has presented on the TED Talk stage and at several tech startup conferences like StartUp Grind, ConX19, and Startup of the Year at SXSW. Powers is a regular contributor on national news networks including TD Ameritrade and Cheddar. 

Physna recently announced a $20 million Series B funding round led by Sequoia Capital. Physna’s technology bridges the gap between the physical world and digital code by codifying the 3D world through a deeper understanding of the physical properties of real-world objects and the relationships between them. Physna is building the 3D future of software, and has already improved engineering, industrial design and procurement by putting new, powerful search capabilities in the hands of innovators and creators – one 3D model at a time.

In addition to Physna’s enterprise solution, the company powers a free search engine for consumers called Thangs is an easy to use search tool for physical object and 3D model search, allowing users to search with models directly rather than relying on text. Thangs provides the world’s first global geometric search and smart automated collaboration tool. Since launching in August of 2020, hundreds of thousands of people have used Thangs to improve their workflow in everything from product design to 3D printing.



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