A Look at How 3D Laser Scanning Technology Works

A Look at How 3D Laser Scanning Technology Works

Today, 3D laser scanning is a critical technology in the work of many professionals. In archaeology, architecture, building projects, digital design, and more industries use 3D scanning to document large areas. These technologies are applied in medicine, science, and engineering. We can find applications ranging from multimillion-dollar projects like constructing the new New York Yankee Stadium to capturing a room’s interiors with a single scan. This article looks at how these great laser scanners work.

How It Works

3D laser scanning technology comprises three main parts: the scanner, the software, and the computer. The scanner is a device that emits a laser beam and measures the distance to the object or surface it hits. The software takes all the data collected by the scanner and creates a 3D model of the scanned object or surface. Finally, the computer displays this 3D model for further examination or other projects.

There are various scanners on the market, but they all work in basically the same way. Some scanners emit a single line of laser light, while others emit a sheet of laser light. The distance to an object is measured by how long the laser light takes to return to the scanner. Some scanners also use the time of flight, which calculates the distance by measuring the duration for the laser light to travel to an object and back.

Once the scanner has collected all of its data, it sends it to the computer. The software takes this data and creates a 3D model of the scanned object or surface. Many different software programs are available, but they all do the same thing. Some programs are more user-friendly than others, but most are pretty easy to learn how to use.

Finally, the computer displays the 3D model. This can be done in various methods depending on what type of project the model is being used for. It could be displayed on a monitor, projected onto the surface of an object, or printed out in 3D.


3D laser scanning technology has several applications in a variety of industries. Here are just a few examples:

  1. Archaeology: 3D scanners can create digital models of archaeological sites. This allows archaeologists to study the sites in more detail and makes it easier to share information with other researchers.
  2. Building and Construction: 3D scanners can create digital models of buildings and construction projects. This helps with design and planning and makes it easier to track changes made during the construction process.
  3. Medicine: 3D scanning is being used more and more in medicine for both diagnostics and treatment. Some examples include creating digital models of teeth and bones, studying the internal structure of organs, and helping with brain surgery.
  4. Science: 3D scanners are making it easier for scientists to study things like animal migration patterns, changes in glaciers over time, and more. Examples include studies involving elephant seal populations and high-resolution scans of lunar craters.
  5. Engineering: 3D scanning is used in engineering projects. It’s also widely used by carmakers to track changes during the design process. Some other examples include designing parts for airplanes and creating test models for various products.

There are many additional applications and some interesting case studies showing how 3D laser scanning technology has been used in the past.