Structured blue-light scanning uses a projector to cast lines onto a surface. As these lines move across an object, a pair of stereoscopic cameras are used to capture the curvature of these lines which correlates to a change is surface profile. Each scan takes a matter of seconds and can capture upwards of 5 million data points per scan. Optical 3D scanning provides millions of data points across surfaces of varying complexity in mere seconds. Items that can be scanned with this high fidelity system range from the size of a small screw or dime to larger projects such as a plane, ship, or space vehicle. Photogrammetry provides a collection of individual data points on a surface by using photography. These data points can be used to create and measure elements such as points, planes, cylinders, cones, surfaces, etc. Photogrammetry coupled with 3D scanning enables dense data collection at high accuracy over large projects. This includes objects such as vehicles, aircraft, and water vessels.
Optical 3D scanning processes have the ability to be automated. Incorporating robotics into the existing scanning capability enables more efficient and timely operations. The Metrology team has implemented robotics into some facilities on Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and is exploring the possibility of implementing these automated operations at facilities such as maintenance depots, rapid response facilities, R&D labs, and production lines.