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Full circle

MU graduate launches Web site that allows users to make 360-degree photographs.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:18 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Shopping online has its limitations. Buyers may hesitate to purchase without a good look at the product.

Online stores have long used technology that lets potential buyers see 360-degree images of their products. But creating the images required hiring technical help or installing software that can be expensive and difficult to use.

Recent MU graduate Paul Pattison has a solution. Enter picturecloud, a service created by Pattison that lets online shoppers view products from multiple angles without leaving home.

“I want this to be the new way we see pictures on the Internet,” Pattison said.

Pattison’s Web site, picturecloud.com, lets people upload up to 36 pictures of a single object and transform it into a 360-degree image. The final image appears in a cloud-shaped window—-hence the name picturecloud.com.

The site allows vendors to provide more complete images for prospective buyers than would be possible by showing only a still photo.

Pattison intends to profit from the site, but the service is currently free for registered users.

Although the Web site just launched, it has already had hits from people around the world looking to play around with the technology, something Pattison encourages. Pattison said he received a picture cloud of Stonehenge and has been contacted by users from many countries.

“I’ve received e-mails in languages I can’t even read,” Pattison said.

Pattison graduated from MU in December with an undergraduate degree in engineering. He wants to work on picturecloud.com full-time.

“It’s what most people want—to have their own business,” Pattison said.

Pattison came up with the idea for the last year while surfing the Internet.

He pitched his idea last October to the Missouri Innovation Center, a non-profit organization that works to help MU entrepreneurs create potential high-profit businesses.

“Paul had a business idea that could very quickly become a national and international enterprise,” said Jake Halliday, President of the Missouri Innovation Center.

The Missouri Innovation Center was originally intended to help faculty with small business ventures, but according to Halliday the Center has seen more interaction from students.

The services the Missouri Innovation Center provides to new businesses include accounting advice and mentorship.

“Most of the companies we work with are still in their early days,” Halliday said. “We have not had a Starbucks. We have not had a Microsoft. Yet.”

Pattison hopes to begin developing a user base by starting with members of the MU community.

Chris Moore and Kevin McDonald, both MU juniors, are helping Pattison with the site, but most of their efforts are focused on marketing.

“We are figuring out a way to get this to the campus,” Moore said.

Pattison has already set his sights further than the MU campus.

“I hope it adopts well in the Internet community,” said Pattison. “It will take users a while to adapt to it before it really begins to take off. Hopefully, lots of people will see the value in showing 3D-type images online—and that people will love it.”

As the company continues to grow and move past campus, Pattison hopes to change the way consumers and buyers alike view shopping online – one picture cloud at a time.


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