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“Even 3D cameras can learn by themselves.”


IT whiz with business sense: Timo Hackel wants to use his algorithms to improve quality controls in industrial production.


In your field of expertise, Mr. Hackel, you’re an internationally renowned expert. What exactly has earned you this reputation?

During my studies in Karlsruhe and at ETHZ, I concentrated on the still emerging field of machine learning from 3D data. I attended congresses and published extensively…

…until one day you discovered by chance that others were earning money with your ideas.

So, I thought to myself: I can do that too! I started to offer my knowhow as a service. My customers are plant manufacturers who work with optical quality control. With my algorithms, the software of a 3D camera can draw conclusions from the image data; it “recognizes” patterns and optimizes itself.

You left ETHZ after completing your doctoral thesis and founded your own company. What’s in your business plan?

I have no intention of starting too big. But, of course, I have business goals. In the medium term, I’d like to manufacture and market a product – for example, a complete quality control system. The demand would be there. The market for 3D quality control in Germany alone is worth around 350 million euros.

How will you proceed?

I have the necessary contacts through my service activities. Ideally, I can now test my ideas in pilot studies.


Timo Hackel attended the Business Concept course in autumn 2018.