Many 3D scanners nowadays utilize structured light technology, with most handheld 3D scanners being of this type. They differ from laser scanners in that they don’t use a laser line or dot to scan an object. Instead, structured light scanners use trigonometric triangulation, which works by projecting a pattern of light onto an object.
When the pattern hits an object, being projected from an LCD or other source of light, multiple sensors use the shape of the pattern of light to determine the distance of each point. The pattern of light projected is typically striped but can also be dots or numerous other shapes.
Structured light scanners are beneficial because they are efficient and quite fast, with a scan being completed in only two seconds. They’re also able to capture objects in a larger scanning area than traditional laser scanners.
When you process this information in scanning software, a digitalized 3D image is created of the scanned object. This allows for efficient and effortless design of products. It’s a common alternative to laser scanning, as lasers do not perform well with reflective surfaces or transparency.
Blue light is the industry standard, although white light is used as well. Blue light is more accurate and is more capable when going up against reflections and transparency. Because of how efficient and quick it is, structured light scanning is a valuable tool used in CAD and product design, dentistry, and it was even relied on for the development of NASA spacecraft.