When it comes to innovations that have changed the world, 3D scanner technologies should rank near the top of the list. While 3D scanning equipment may not have widespread use in a residential or private setting even today, the applications can be used in a wide range of industries with considerable benefits. In fact, this type of technology is currently being used in entertainment and multimedia, architecture and construction, healthcare, aerospace, automotive and other industries with great results. However, you may be wondering about the history of 3D scanners and how this technology has become so prevalent in commercial settings.

The Introduction of Scanners

The 3D scanner technologies used in commercial settings today are far more sophisticated than the original models available. When the technology was introduced in the early 1960s, it utilized cameras, lights and projector equipment to elicit results. There were considerable limitations with regards to the use of this technology, and it was slow to apply to practical functions. However, by 1985, white light and lasers were used as scanners to facilitate and speed up the process.

The Modern Scanners Have Evolved

Larger 3D Scanner

Today’s 3D scanner technologies have evolved significantly from earlier models. Many modern scanners project laser light onto an object that is being scanned. The reflected light bounces off this object, and is detected by the scanning equipment. This allows a computer to create data points and positions for the object so that it can be replicated with detailed, accurate results.

The Spread of the Scanning Technology Throughout Various Industries

Scanning technology originally was an innovation that received little attention in commercial settings, but it can now be customized specifically to meet the needs of professionals in various fields. For example, in a medical setting, the scanning technology can be adapted to create models of body parts so that prosthetic devices can be custom-made to fit an individual patient. It can also be used to create breast implants and to facilitate in wound healing and care. In the architectural arena, it can be used to create models of buildings or other features to scale. Often, it is used to capture historic architectural details during renovations, but it may also be applied when it is not safe for people to do the work by hand.

Because the technology is customizable and scalable, it continues to have new applications brought forth to the benefit of many different industries. 3D technologies are even being used on the International Space Station (ISS). In September of 2014, the first 3D printer designed for microgravity (created by Made In Space) was sent to the ISS. A few months later, in December, NASA was able to email a 3D model of a ratcheting socket wrench to personnel on the ISS. The wrench was the first object to be designed on earth, sent digitally to space and printed off-planet. Additionally, there are plans to use special 3D scanning technology in the next few years to begin creating detailed maps of our forests from space.

Understanding the history of 3D scanners is important because it allows you to get an insider’s look at how the technology has become more advanced and more applicable to a wide range of commercial industries. This is a type of technological innovation that has transformed the way business is conducted in many industries with great results, and the latest technology is now faster and far more accurate than previous versions of the technology. Because it can be adapted to meet a wide range of needs, it may be suitable for use in some of your business activities.