What is 3-D scanner? - Definition from WhatIs.com
Part of the Personal computing glossary:

A 3-D scanner is an imaging device that collects distance point measurements from a real-world object and translates them into a virtual 3-D object.

3-D scanners are used for creating life-like images and animation in movies and video games. Other applications of 3-D scanning include reverse engineering, prototyping, architectural and industrial modeling, medical imaging and medical device modeling. 3-D printers can use data from 3-D scans to create physical objects.

Contact-based 3-D scanners work in a number of ways. One type has a carriage system and a control flat bed on which the object rests, while arms take measurements. Another type has articulated arms, and measurements are calculated from the joint angles of those arms.

Optical 3-D scanners use photographic, stereoscopic cameras, lasers or structured or modulated light. Optical scanning often requires many angles or sweeps.

Laser-based methods use a low-power, eye-safe pulsing laser working in conjunction with a camera. The laser illuminates a target, and associated software calculates the time it takes for the laser to reflect back from the target to yield a 3-D image of the scanned item.

Non-laser light-based scanners use either light that is structured into a pattern or a constantly modulated light and then record the formation the scanned object makes. Some medical tomographic scanners use X-rays to create a 3-D X-ray scan image.

Commercial desktop and hand held 3-D scanners vendors include Digitizer, NextEngine, Go!SCAN and Fuel3-D. Most products use a combination of the techniques to make a faster and more accurate device that can capture color as well as form.

See a 3-D scanner demonstration:

This was last updated in October 2013
Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • Cyber Monday

    - Cyber Monday is a marketing event created to promote online sales. The day falls on the Monday after Black Friday, which directly follows American Thanksgiving Day. (WhatIs.com)

  • NCR (no country redirect)

    - An explanation of the NCR (no country redirect) search parameter. This definition of NCR explains how Google search redirect works and how you can prevent the search engine from redirecting to your... (WhatIs.com)

  • Apple iBeacon

    - Apple’s iBeacon uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to detect a compatible device within a beacon's vicinity. (SearchCRM.com)

Glossaries

  • Personal computing

    - Terms related to personal computers, including definitions about computers sold as consumer products and words and phrases about laptops, tablets and smartphones.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question
  • Artwork software

    The main graphics software for artists is Adobe Photoshop. It is pretty expensive however. Hit Google and search for graphics software you'll get tons of options.

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.