5 years of Zivid - a founding story

Henrik Schumann-Olsen

Today, 5 years ago, Zivid was founded as a spin-off from SINTEF . The idea, however, was born long before that. Me, and a colleague at SINTEF Øystein Skotheim, was wrapping up a 4-year research project developing a novel high accuracy real-time 3D color camera. In the second half of 2014, we had built the first prototype, and we spent the last money left in our research project on a small booth at the VISION tradeshow in Stuttgart. We knew that we had something great going on, but we had no idea how enormous the interest would be!

Our booth at VISION 2014, we were called ShapeCrafter at that time.

ShapeCrafter 2014

Just before the doors opened, our 3D camera prototype, which got thoroughly bashed during the flight to Germany, was up and running again after some hectic rebuilding and re-calibration. The lenses had somehow managed to unscrew during our flight and were just rolling around inside the aluminum housing.


I guess you can say prototype was written all over the camera, it was definitely not screaming industrial grade at that point. 😊


For two ambitious scientists, the VISION show in Stuttgart was a huge boost. Our tiny booth was jam-packed almost all the time. I don't think I have ever had so much adrenaline before, and I was totally pumped the whole week. At the end of the event, with all the positive feedback from visitors, there was no doubt that we just had to establish a company.

Arriving back in Norway, we created a business plan and pitched for SINTEF in March 2015. Together we decided to apply for funding at the Research Council of Norway. Backed by both SINTEF and the Research Council, we founded Zivid on the 10th of July 2015.

Now, five years later, Zivid is established as a leading 3D machine vision vendor with class-leading technology in structured light and high-quality 3D imaging for industrial automation. We are still headquartered in Norway with offices in USA, Korea, and China, and business and customers worldwide.

Looking back, it has been a fantastic journey, including entrepreneur school in Silicon Valley, company setup, hiring the best people, building a strong organization, growing and evolving, and raising money...

In 2018, I held a breakfast talk about our beginning (in Norwegian) 



Zivid-StartupLab (1)

From our research during the 2000s and the last-minute work throughout the night back in November 2014, it's been crystal clear that simplicity and performance are crucial differentiators for our customers.




Zivid-IP65 (1)

I'm not going to lie, designing an industrial, high-end instrument is demanding. Therefore, our Zivid One+ 3D color cameras undergo individual calibration, testing, and verification before a unit ships to the customer. During development and before every release, the software team performs continuous integration and system stress tests. Working closely with our customers, we know that they appreciate our relentless focus on these details.

However, we still get tested every day as every application have their tiny challenges to overcome. We continue to innovate and provide both small and significant updates to our product portfolio through regular software releases to address this. Since version 1.0 for Windows and Linux in 2018 through the major 2.0 software release in the summer of 2020, and with the launch of our accessories webshop, we've increased both speed and image quality and made our 3D cameras dramatically easier to use.

The 3D vision market is still expanding, and automation with robots with machine vision has just scratched the surface. We're bold in our vision of providing the best 3D camera for these emerging applications, and I'm proud to have been part of this journey so far and genuinely looking forward to the continuation.


To all my dedicated co-workers and our valued customers of Zivid:

Happy birthday!

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