Freeform Studios was started in 2002 by Christopher Dean M.A. Chris studied sculpture at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and was a practising sculptor in the South West for several years, producing bronze sculptures and stone carvings to commission and works for London Art fairs. He gained a PGCE from Exeter University and taught art, design and ceramics in a variety of educational establishments throughout his career both in public and private institutions and covering a wide age range; he collaborated in the development and delivery of a Cybercrafts MA course at Staffordshire University 2003.
In 2000 he was employed by SensAble Technologies, Boston, USA as a product specialist demonstrating the new Haptic, touch enabled Freeform Modelling System in the UK, France and Germany.
In 2004 he became Product Development Consultant at National Museums Liverpool researching 3D digital technologies and production pathway from scanning to replicas and new products.
In 2009 Chris incorporated Freeform Studios and offered services in product development, 3D modelling and replicas to public and private clients whilst developing a new business venture. During the following years he has received a variety business support beginning with a business starter incubation unit in the Sutherland Institute. He has also recently become a member of the north Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce.
- Freeform Studios own Product Development project has been in creating the Probos Sensory Console and galleZeum 3D Interactive application which has already received prestigious acclaim and international awards.
- In 2010 Chris formed Touch & Discover Systems with Virtalis Ltd. Having used and demonstrated Haptic technology for over ten years he has gained unique experience and vision in understanding how this touch technology can be used to benefit the public and museums. This unique experience has helped drive the development of the Probos interactive towards a universal touch enabled digital 3D platform which can be developed to deliver many beneficial educational and recreational programs.
- Having successfully completed the first stage of the development at Manchester Museum the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has awarded us a second grant to continue the evolution of this innovative product into an accessible platform for all users. This will help us enormously in our aim to develop this new product, start-up company and new jobs and contribute to the economic development of Stoke On Trent.
- Manchester Museum and Touch & Discover Systems were shortlisted for a Museums and Heritage Innovations Award 2013 for the Virtual Object Handling interactive exhibit, which is the Probos Interactive.
- In March 2014 Manchester Museum and Touch & Discover Systems were identified as an innovative practice by the Zero Project, we were one of four identified from the cultural sector, worldwide. The Zero Project is based on a United Nations initiative to reduce all barriers for people with disabilities to zero. There were over 250 projects put forward from around the world, we gave 2 presentations and were given a certificate at the Vienna conference. We did make several contacts at the conference from other countries which we intend to follow up very soon.