Photonics Dictionary

3D scanners

3D scanners are devices used to capture the three-dimensional shape and characteristics of physical objects or environments. They utilize various technologies to gather data about the geometry, texture, and color of objects in order to create accurate digital representations or models in three dimensions.

There are several types of 3D scanners, each employing different principles and techniques to capture data:

Laser-based scanners: These scanners emit laser beams onto the surface of an object and measure the time it takes for the laser to reflect back to the scanner. By calculating the distance between the scanner and the object's surface at multiple points, a 3D point cloud can be generated.

Structured light scanners: These scanners project patterns of light onto the object's surface and use cameras to capture images of the reflected patterns. By analyzing the distortion of the patterns caused by the object's shape, the scanner can determine the object's geometry.

Photogrammetry scanners: Photogrammetry relies on taking multiple photographs of an object from different angles and using specialized software to analyze the images and reconstruct the object's 3D shape.

Time-of-flight scanners: These scanners measure the time it takes for a light signal to travel from the scanner to the object and back again. By calculating the round-trip time for each point on the object's surface, the scanner can create a 3D representation.

Contact scanners:
These scanners physically touch the surface of the object to measure its shape. They may use probes or other mechanical devices to gather data point by point.

3D scanners are used in various fields including manufacturing, engineering, architecture, healthcare, entertainment, and cultural heritage preservation. They enable precise measurements, quality control, reverse engineering, digital documentation, and visualization of physical objects and spaces.
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