Aug 15, 2017

Scientists Use Water & Robots to Create 3D Scanning Technique

Israeli scientists use robot arm and ancient water measurement technique to accurately capture the 3D structure of complex objects.

The 3D scanning process can be tricky, especially when you’re dealing with objects that contain crevices and other hidden parts. A team of researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel are developing a technology that will negate those pesky problems that generally arise with conventional 3D scanners.

But first, some history… Israeli scientists have taken the “theory of fluid displacement” concept from the Greek mathematician Archimedes and have used it to develop a remarkable 3D scanning process. The ancient idea is that you can accurately measure the volume of an object by submerging it into water and analyzing the amount of water displaced by the object.

Transforming Water and Robots Into a 3D Scanning Solution

The new scanning method, called “dip transformation,” functions with a robotic arm and a tub of water. The process starts by simply dipping an object in water and measuring its fluid displacement. After that, the researchers are able to construct a virtual 3D model with a mathematical algorithm that produces a series of “slices” of the object’s 3D form.

According to the research team, this method offers numerous advantages over other types of 3D scanning technology. Since there are no line-of-sight issues, unlike with optical sensors, the robot arm and water solution are able to capture hidden details inside of an object.

“Unlike optical sensors, the liquid has no line-of-sight requirements. It penetrates cavities and hidden parts of the object, thus bypassing all visibility and optical limitations of conventional scanning devices,” says Andrei Sharf, one of the authors of the paper.

Although this proof-of-concept is undoubtedly innovative, there are still a few kinks to work out for the team of scientists. For starters, the robot arm must currently dip a selected object 500 to 1,000 times to create a high-fidelity scan. This lengthy wait behind this process is a glaring obstacle, but alleviating this issue would make the technology exceptionally practical.

By fusing water and robotics together through this ancient Greek idea, the researchers think that their method will allow people to properly 3D scan complex objects in a more accurate way than has ever been done before.


License: The text of "Scientists Use Water & Robots to Create 3D Scanning Technique" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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