HOW TO NAME A 3D SCANNER
Lifting the veil of secrecy, I will tell you that our team has been working day and night on a brand-new, never-before-seen, hand-held 3D scanner. And it’s almost here! However this post is not about how great or unique this piece of tech will be. This article is a glimpse into the life of an innovative, somewhat bizarre, yet never-boring team of brilliant techies.
It turns out that naming a 3D scanner is almost as difficult as inventing a 3D scanner. Our team of engineers is ordinarily in harmony with our support, sales, manufacturing and marketing staff, but in the last few weeks we’ve witnessed heated intra-departmental discussions all around our Moscow office and at our manufacturing plant. The debate especially intensified, as the first prototypes started circulating around the office and the topic of color also began appearing in conversations (“What color should the scanner be?”).
So what were some of the name choices? To understand why certain names were suggested, you have to know the key features of the new technology. As we are not yet formally announcing the new scanner, I won’t go into details, but I will say this: it is a hand-held, white light 3D scanner with three sets of interchangeable lenses that never have to be calibrated and can be switched out easily like lenses of a professional photo camera (snap on/off these lenses and you can go from capturing tiny objects such as jewelry to large objects such as cars or furniture). So the new scanner will ultimately have three “heads” and will be able to scan objects of almost any size. Sounds like a breakthrough, right? Our whole whacky team is very excited about the upcoming release (due out this autumn). So what do we call this new device? Here is where the debate starts…
Some of the suggestions (and reasons for rejection) were:
“Ant” – our Finance Director recently watched a Hollywood action-hero flick about a guy who can change in height (size) and is, therefore, unstoppable (like the new scanner). Reason for rejection: we don’t want to name our scanners after movie characters (it’s been overdone) … or after insects.
“Parhelion” – the natural phenomenon of what appears to be two suns in the sky at the same time (like two “heads” of lenses on one scanner). Reason for rejection: while we all thought the symbolism was very pretty, the word seemed to be too long for our marketing folks.
“Genesis” – a word that symbolizes origin or birth. Many of our engineers felt this word best described the creation process of this new 3D scanner. Reason for rejection: some of us thought it was too grandiose (after all, we think of ourselves as a modest bunch) and others didn’t think we should use the name of the first book of the Bible, as it might offend.
“Augy” – because the scanner was finished in August. Reason for rejection: there is not enough symbolism in the name, and the word sounded strange in Russian (how would it sound if our own employees couldn’t pronounce the name of our scanner?).
“Cerberus” – a three-headed dog that guarded the Underworld in Greek mythology. This was appropriate because the beast was intimidating, ferocious and had three heads (like our new 3D scanner). Reason for rejection: for some, the word seemed too long and difficult to spell, while others in the company felt that there were too many products on the market already with that name (like security systems and alarms).
“Bang” – the sound dynamite makes when it explodes (we hope our new scanner will make a “bang”). Reason for rejection: the verb “to bang”, in some English-speaking countries, also means to have sexual intercourse. We decided to stay away from that kind of association!
Employee’s pencil illustration of “Bang”
“Mir” or “Meer” – in Russian, this word means “peace” and “world”. It was also the name of a Russian space station, in orbit from 1986 to 2001. The idea was that our new technology is “out of this world”. It was also the name of a Russian space station, in orbit from 1986 to 2001. The idea was that our new technology is “out of this world”. Reason for rejection: this particular space station was drowned in the Pacific Ocean in 2001 for its old age and lack of government funds to upkeep it. Bad symbolism, wouldn’t you say?
“Zmey Gorynich” or “Zmey” for short – for Russian speakers, this was elementary. Zmey Gorynich is a mythical creature from Slavic folklore: it has three heads and is a feared opponent of any brave warrior. Granted, in fairy-tales, he is an antagonist who is usually defeated by the main character at the end of the story, but we felt that he was simply misunderstood and was a good symbol for our fierce, multi-headed device. Reason for rejection: it was universally agreed that it would be difficult to market a product internationally with such a strange and unrecognizable name.
So how did we, finally, name the new scanner? Since the majority of our staff liked “Zmey Gorynich”, we posed a question: “How would we translate that into English?” The answer: “Russian Dragon”. That was too long for the marketing department. Then, we shortened it to “Dragon”. Then, we shortened it again to “Drake”, which is what dragons are sometimes called (especially in online games). So there you go, folks. Please look forward to a new 3D scanner, called “Drake”, out, next Monday, September 12!
PS The reason for my post today, is to make this decision final and to stop the endless discussions, because each new day seems to bring more and more options which are discussed in hallways, at lunch and during meetings. Once this message is posted, the debates should subside and we can go back to our regular work….at least until it’s time to finalize the “color” decision (right now the prototypes are simply white).
Director of Sales