ImageImageZ Corporation, Burlington, MA, has introduced the ZScanner 700, a handheld, self-positioning 3D scanner that can digitize 3D surfaces in real time. The scanner is part-referenced, orienting itself to the target object, rather than to an external device. This eliminates the need for fixed-position tripods, mechanical arms, or other positioning devices that must be within the line of sight of the target surface. The user also can move the target object during scanning, and displays a real-time, on-screen image of the surface being scanned. To scan, the user holds the scanner and "paints" the object with a projected laser crosshair. The surface is recorded by the scanner's dual cameras, and ZScan software, included with the scanner, generates a polygon mesh of the surface on the computer screen in real time. The scanner captures data in one continuous scan. The software automatically produces an .stl file for import into a 3D CAD package, or output to a 3D printer. The system is accurate to within ±0.05 mm, and detects changes in surface height down to 0.1 mm.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2006 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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