The Science Behind 3D Laser Scans
North America is the leading market in 3D laser scans. This booming industry is expected to increase from approximately $8.5 million in 2017 to $53 million in 2025. This upgraded technology makes it one of the fastest-growing markets today.
But what makes laser scans so popular? How did science allow people to use simple laser scanning to create 3D objects?
If you want to learn more about 3D laser scans, then keep reading on to learn about the science behind them.
3D Laser Scans
How do 3D scanners work? Arguably, processing power has been one of the largest limiting factors in the progression of 3D scanner uses.
To get a quality 3D image, you need a lot of processing power. Recently, the technology has finally fine-tuned processing to the degree needed for laser scans.
There are three different types of laser scanning: short, mid, and long-range scanners. Each works a bit differently and requires different parameters for use.
Small range scanners use triangulation systems for their lasers. This means that an object is placed in a set location and the laser scanner in another. Normally, these small range scanners are limited to depths of one meter for the object they are scanning.
When the scanner is turned on, a laser will target the object and then receive the feedback of the reflected light. This point of light begins the process of 3D imaging. Through multiple laser processes, you will generate an image.
Sometimes, these small range scanners have the ability for linear mapping. With this technology, linear lights develop the 3D image without the use of multiple scans. It tracks how the light encompasses the object to determine its dimensions.
Mid-range and long-range scanners use a laser-pulsed technique to generate 3D imaging. Basically, these powerful scanners have a 360-degree mirror and fine-tuned measurements such as the time of flight for lasers.
The precision of these lasers is more in-depth than other forms of scans and more closely monitors changes and laser frequency.
Component of a Laser Scanner
A laser scanner is composed of multiple parts that allow it to function to a high degree of accuracy. These parts largely include the laser and optical lens. During laser triangulation, the laser light reflection is what is recorded when an object is scanned.
Because the laser is so strong, sometimes it picks up significant changes in the surface of an object that is difficult to see for the human eye. It is also sometimes difficult to use a 3D scanner for a highly metallic surface that reflects light onto different objects or surfaces.
Types of Laser
LIDAR is a form of light and laser that first popped up decades ago. It has mostly been used for topography as it does a good job at calculating distances using a laser. From this, it creates an idea of what surfaces look like.
Digital photogrammetry uses the triangulation method that you read about earlier. Because of the limitations of light reflection, make sure that you have the right focus and are limiting exposure to other objects.
Structured light uses mainly light to create the image. In this method, a camera uses light to calculate the distortions that the object produces from that light. While this method is fairly cheap, it does not tend to produce quality or accurate imaging.
LIDAR and high-end photogrammetry tools provide the best results and images. With LIDAR - it does take more training and expertise to learn the system. These two systems are also more expensive.
What Are Laser Scans Used For?
What are some 3D scanner uses? It is no surprise that 3D scanning has bridged many industries and redefined workplaces.
Some of the most common 3D scanner applications are used in the film industry, computer games, architecture, museums, jewelry designing, construction, the environment, and the medical field, to name a few.
In movies, 3D imaging was initially used for the creation of computer-generated imagery (CGI). Obviously, the CGI creations from decades ago pale in comparison to the technology that is now in the movie industry.
Museums are replicating historical sites and artifacts through fine-tuned laser scans, while jewelry businesses can predict what size of diamond to place in necklaces or rings. It is also extensively used in the construction and environmental industries.
To help keep workers safe, 3D imaging and scans are used where there are risks of toxic exposure or structural concerns. For this reason, there are industrial scanners available for people who work in this industry.
Finally, the medical field is starting to use laser scans for equipment specifically designed for patients. These scans can more accurately calculate and fit critical equipment and instruments.
Surgeons also use these scans to assess a patient before surgery, along with other imaging such as MRI and CT scans. This gives the surgeon a better view of what is going on and can lead to safer outcomes and prognoses.
As you can see - there is wide use of laser scans in each and every industry. As technology progresses, the use of 3D lasers is only continually expanding and thriving.
These scanners come in various forms, from handheld devices to desktop scanners or even bundle packages. You are sure to find one that best fits you or your company's needs.
Find Your Laser Scanner
With so many laser scans out there, you can be sure to find one for the applications you need it for. These 3D laser scanners can get expensive.
For that reason, make sure that you go through a reliable and professional company to address all of your 3D imaging needs. They can also help you work through whether you should rent a laser scanner first before purchase.
Contact us today and let our professional team help you determine which 3D laser scan is the best for you.