3-D Laser Scanners: A New Documentation Tool?

Posted on: October 4, 2010

3-D Laser Scanning: A New Documentation Tool?

3-D Laser Scanning: A New Documentation Tool?

Could 3-D laser scanners become the next breakthrough tool in business and technical communication?

According to Wikipedia, a 3-D laser scanner is a “device that analyzes a real-world object or environment to collect data on its shape” as well as its surface textures and colors. This produces a high-definition map, a sort of “point cloud” of collected data, which can “then be used to construct digital, three dimensional models useful for a wide variety of applications.”

One such application currently underway is to “back up history,” a process by which preservationists use portable 3-D laser scanners to make digital records of at-risk landmarks around the world. The non-profit group CyArk calls these high-resolution scans “reality capture.”

The U.S. National Center for Preservation Technology and Training also intends to launch projects in the preservation field in order to “use the 3-D images to show changes in the structure and color” of objects.

And Popsci reports on “the coolest backpack ever: a wearable collection of cameras and lasers that maps the interiors of buildings as it goes, instantly generating photo-real 3-D maps of structures.”

In addition to documenting cultural artifacts and building interiors, such scanners can be used in industrial design, prosthetics design, prototyping, engineering and quality control, among many other potential applications.

Does your company use 3-D laser scanners to document products? Do you think this technology is feasible and realistic for most companies?

Would you, as a business or technical communicator, like to use this technology in your work?

Please leave comments to share your ideas on using 3-D laser scanning as part of product and process documentation.  Elizabeth Lexleigh  LexPower  The Write Ideas


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