FARO is expanding the possibilities of 3D laser scanning with a range of innovations. There is a clear trend towards making point clouds the focus of documentation applications.
Scanning on-site and immediately having a registered point cloud available on a mobile device – this has been a long-time dream of 3D laser scanning experts. Instead, one hour’s work in the field always meant several hours of office work to turn the scan data into usable data products. FARO Europe GmbH is now offering the possibility of registration in the field. Thanks to the new FARO® Scan Localizer, it is now possible to register scans on-site and in real time and thus generate a point cloud using equipment in the field. This add-on product is integrated into the Laser Scanner Focus3D tripod. It constantly performs 2D scans while also surveying the measuring environment within a horizontal profile covering approximately 180 degrees. It has a measuring range of up to 20 metres. The end result is a type of reference profile, which can be used to register the relevant scans from different locations within a single point cloud. This is all thanks to the cloud-to-cloud registration process, which has been a feature in SCENE for around two years. “It means that there is no longer any need for reference registration marks for overlapping areas in interior spaces,” says Oliver Bürkler, Director of Product Management at FARO. The intention is primarily to boost efficiency for projects with a high number of individual images. “We assume that it will generate significant cost advantages where there are 15 or more scans. For example, the device is absolutely indispensable when measuring interior spaces, where you often take more than a hundred scans,” Bürkler adds. According to the company, the FARO Scan Localizer is available as an add-on to the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D (2015 model or later) and costs around 15,000 euros.
The FARO Scan Localizer is affixed to the tripod. It carries out a horizontal 180-degree measurement that enables real-time positioning in interior spaces.
FARO has launched a number of innovations onto the market to further improve 3D laser scanning. This includes integrating high-dynamic-range (HDR) photography into the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D. This new option lets you increase the resolution for images with significant differences in brightness. The HDR camera in the Focus3D X 130 HDR and 330 HDR models deliver 170 megapixels and offer a contrast range of up to 4 billion-to-1, which means that the respective bright areas can be optimally rendered for the human eye (i.e. for the screen). Bürkler describes a practical example: “Customers working in dark spaces, e.g. pipeline construction, can decipher even small labels, which are usually very light, in the point cloud”.
Closer to reality
A first glance at the new Version 6 of FARO’s point cloud software SCENE makes it very clear that it represents a new master release. The entire user interface has been redesigned and is now heavily based on typical workflows. Making the software easy and efficient to use was key. The work steps within the workflows are divided into clear, individual steps and are arranged in a logical sequence. All of the individual functions available in the previous version are now listed as processing options for the relevant processing steps in projects. The aim is to help users, especially those without extensive prior experience to get to grips with the system easier and faster. “When we developed the workflow-based tools, we defined typical use cases and automated them completely,” says Bürkler. In the event that manual intervention is needed, the software provides appropriate support and guidance. “This keeps the training required to an absolute minimum, which means that the learning time for new users is extremely short,” the product manager said. If anyone prefers the old interface for example, for dealing with complex, engineering-related technical issues they can easily switch back to the previous GUI.
Users will also find new rendering technology in SCENE 6 interesting. It delivers an even better level of visualisation for solid surfaces and eliminates the need for further data processing in visualisation applications.
“Solid surfaces now look completely realistic,” explains Bürkler. Conventional point cloud visuals have been transformed into fully immersive virtual reality environment. For example several new features ensure that the point cloud density for walls is interpolated so that the original, roughly rendered (“holey”) point clouds are automatically converted into closed surfaces. Colours are also homogenised in this way so that solid bodies or textures become significantly more realistic. This means that solid surfaces are not visualised using individual measuring points but rather as realistic, closed objects.
New rendering features in the latest Version 6 of SCENE come in the form of closed surfaces: measuring points are turned into solid bodies to optimise the visualisation.
Ever more in the cloud
FARO insists that the benefits of this type of hyper-realistic point cloud are not just reserved for experts, thanks to the new version of its web hosting service SCENE WebShare Cloud. Being an online service it delivers significantly better performance, as well as being simpler and more user-friendly. All team members can now access documentation data quickly and easily without needing any special software or hardware. Each file is coded individually using the best encryption method available today (AEC 256), which guarantees the highest levels of IT security. In recent years, many customers have been sceptical about cloud applications for security reasons or have rejected them out of hand due to the massive volumes of data involved and the lack of fluid rendering. Nevertheless FARO confirmed that more and more customers are now using the cloud.
Consequently point clouds can be used for documentation-related tasks that were previously the reserve of CAD software. The advantage given that point clouds map complex local conditions, customers can dive into an existing environment ‘virtually’ for a more direct understanding of conditions on the ground. These features are used for example, by key FARO customers such as carmaker Volvo which documents all of its production facilities around the world using FARO scanners and uses these as the basis for further planning or new buildings. The company aims to have point clouds serve as the basis for all documentation applications leaving CAD for the virtual planning level only. This approach represents a paradigm shift since common practice today is still to translate point clouds into CAD models. A point cloud can now be enhanced with CAD functions to create a comprehensive 3D documentation IT landscape. “This will be the basis for future FARO developments,” predicts Oliver Bürkler.
The Casino in Sinaia, Romania was built at the initiative of King Carol I of Romania between 1912-1913. The Sinaia Casino was designed by the famous Romanian architect Petre Antonescu. The building is considered a historic monument and serves as an International Conference Centre. A detailed examination of the site’s current condition was required in order to lay down the restoration and preservation project. Therefore the 3D laser scanning method was chosen in order to carry out the survey of the monument. “Our task was to create a complete Building Information Management system in 2D (ground plans) and 3D (point cloud data) as soon as possible, so that planning and construction work will be based on reliable information. To do this, we deployed two expert teams.
One team was on site scanning with a FARO Focus3D laser scanner while the other team was processing the point cloud data” explains CEO International Partner Buro, Dipl. Ing. Marian Radoi.
“For complex projects as this the Focus3D offers many advantages. It is a non-invasive method of data collection, appropriate in case of surveying historic buildings. The large amount of data, obtained in a very short time, allows for the analysis of the current state of a monument. The great amount of captured details allows planning preservation and rehabilitation works, as well as monitoring the intervention in time.” says Dipl. Ing. Marian Radoi.
A new special of the BBC One show Pompeii: New Secrets Revealed with Mary Beard has helped uncover some myteries in Pompeii. This is one of the most iconic archaeological sites and with the use of the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D unearthed the human stories behind the casts hidden underground. The presenter of the show Mary Beard is a passionate TV historian who wanted to find out the truth the bodies underneath the ashes. This ancient city was destroyed by volcanic ash and pumice during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Researchers were able to examine in detail the remains of bodies to find out more about how these people lived their lives thousands of years ago.
The precise yet simple laser scanner is especially suited to the outdoors due to its small size and lightweight capabilities. The FARO Focus3D Laser scanner was able to perform the most detailed scan of the archaeological site and was shown on the BBC One show for the world to see. The Focus3D can create a precise, virtual copy of the scanned objects at millimetre accuracies in only minutes by capturing up to 976,000 data points per second. Estelle Lazer from the University of Sydney was able along with her team to help Mary unpick the remains which are preserved in Pompeii.
Previously a bank, now a large restaurant of 720 metres, with a capacity of 140 seats: the construction of Studio 16, which opened its doors in Orléans in the
Autumn of 2015, represented a huge challenge in terms of construction, development of the space and decoration.
MB Design, a firm specializing in interior architecture, was charged with the creation and the realisation of this new concept, and monitored the progress of the building work closely, over a period of 8 months. “We had decided to carry out surveys using a FARO Focus3D X 130 scanner as the work progressed. In doing so, we were able to ensure a real and precise indication of the position of all elements of the site that would end up being hidden by various partitions and covers. The objective was to know exactly where the pipes and cables lay, which would turn out to be very useful later, for example when making an alteration, or if a problem were to occur in one of the hidden installations (a blocked pipe or a leak, for example),” said Michael Bustillo, Director of MB Design and sister company ABM2 (which specialises in surveys).
Like any establishment open to the public, the restaurant had to comply with building regulations before being allowed to open. A problem comes to light at this point: the facilities are 4 cm above the permitted height. Who is to blame? The plumber says he worked with the reference line, i.e. the horizontal level line marked on the wall by the bricklayer. The surveys obtained by ABM2 quickly prove otherwise: the resolution of the FARO Focus3D scanner is such that the bricklayer’s line is clearly visible. This simple fact has farreaching consequences: “Firstly, we have not lost time discussing whether the bricklayer or the plumber was right. Then we saved money because to trace a possible line level would have required breaking tiles which had been laid on top of it. Finally, there is no dispute to be resolved: the plumber being wrong, the removal of the fittings and their reinstallation at the right height becomes his problem,” explains Michael Bustillo. In playing the role of “justice of the peace”, the scanner saved a great deal of time and the establishment was able to open on schedule.
It’s that time of the year again! FARO will be attending the UK’s premier manufacturing technologies exhibition, MACH 2016. This event runs every 2 years.
With a 7 days left until the exhibition check out the 4 reasons to be at the FARO stand booth 5910.
FARO Robo Imager- The first mobile, ready to work 3D measurement solution will be on show at the MACH Fair. A mobile and flexible robot with a setup time of less than 5 minutes, it is seen as a product with great benefits for the automotive, aerospace and mechanical engineering industry.
FARO experts on hand to help – The wonderful expert team will be on hand to help you out with any queries you may have. You will be provided with the opportunity to see live demonstrations from a wide range of products from Metrology & 3D Documentation.
Great Quality stands – There will be a wide range of innovative products from many different exhibitors. FARO will be exhibiting a wide range of products from Metrology and 3D Documentation. This will include the newly highly-adaptable FARO Factory Array 3D Imager, a metrology grade non-contact scanner which utilizes blue light technology to capture millions of high resolution 3D coordinate measurements in seconds. We will also be presenting the high speed FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D X Series for detailed 3D modelling and image documentation as well as the recently released 3D Laser Scanner Freestyle3D X with enhanced accuracy of 1 millimetre at a 1-metre range.
Raffle Prize – Test your knowledge of the FARO Factory Array 3D Imager and your in with a chance to win a prize. Test your knowledge of our new scanner metrological level FARO 3D Imager Array Cobalt for the production workshop and assembly . Come to stand booth 5910 and take our quiz and return your completed ballot in the ballot box at the FARO booth. You can also download the quiz here.
You will be able to find the answers on our FARO Factory Array Imager information page.
Don’t forget stand booth 5910
Ghost town on rough sea
Impressively looking Seal Elephants basking in the sunshine with the crew
The South Georgia Island is located in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. At the begining of the 20th Century, this Island had six whaling stations which made it biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. After the destruction of most of the whaling stations during World War II, the station ceased operating in 1965. The slowly decaying buildings in the area are the last pieces of evidence of the past industrial whaling heritage. However the remoteness of the location and major costs needed to renovate the station means that the entire site has been left to fall down. For this reason, the entire faciliy has been exactly surveyed and documented.
To do so, the Geometria Heritage Management Group was involved in the adrenaline fuelled project involving Elephant seals, asbestos contained ruins and strong snow storms. All six stations have been captured with the help of the FARO Focus3D including storage, piers, barracks and accommodation facilities as well as the surrounding area (the Island cemetery and the former hospital).
Working conditions were anything but ordinary. Nowadays the South Georgia Island is practically uninhabited and serves only as a research station. A five day ship tour around the Falkland Island was required to bring the team on-site. Due to the abestos contamination of the facilities, the team had to wear protective clothing at all times.
At 8 am the research crew struck off with temperatures at -10° from the base camp, with the “Pharos SG” and used a a small speed boat to head to Leith Harbour. As well as the stormy weather conditions, the Island is highly populated with Seals and Elephant seals making scanning work even more difficult. Nonetheless, Geometria generated from 30 to 80 Scans per day with the Focus3D and disposed of more than 2700 Scans after one and a half months. The FARO Focus3D managed to precisely document outdoor facilities and the inside area of the whaling station.
After data processing, specialitsts converted the raw data into CAD drawings and 3D CAD models. This data is freely available for scientists as well as all interested researchers who have been using this for interesting projects.
The journey to the whaling station was difficult at times due to the weather conditions
Few internal areas were well-preserved
The high asbestos contamination makes protective clothing an absolute must-have
Engineers trial new surveying methods in Kentucky. Parts of the “Big Bat Cave” are precisely recorded with 3D laser scanners. An extremely demanding project: There is hardly any light underground and it is very confined in places.
The Big Bat Cave is a great attraction for cave explorers and nature-lovers. The history of the area comes to life here; rare crayfish, crickets and bats are at home there. For the “Kentucky Karst Conservancy” , conservation of the landscape and nature is a matter of top priority, and in the engineers of QK4, Louisville, they found highly capable supporters.
The experts are testing new methods of acquiring data when surveying – and one of them is recording using 3D laser scanners. The engineers swapped their traditional surveying tools for a FARO Focus3D X 130 laser scanner whilst systematically and digitally recording the “Big Bat Cave” system in three dimensions. An exciting and groundbreaking experiment, which engineer Ben Shinabery explains step by step.
The three dimensional measurement is carried out from various standpoints using precisely defined reference points. The laser scanner takes around 8 minutes for each setting, measuring almost 1 million points per second in a 360-degree radius. This provides the surveyors with point clouds, which are then processed on the computer. FARO SCENE software is ideal in this context for creating three-dimensional models. The surveying team worked through the cave metre by metre, including through some tight spots which were difficult to access.
In this cramped, dark environment the advantages of the FARO Focus3D X 130 laser scanner come into their own: small and light, quick to set up and dismantle, and easily transported in the cave. Non-contact scanning delivers true-to-scale and ultra-precise data. The initial results were impressive. Project manager Ben Shinabery: “Now almost anyone can use the 3D models for scientific analysis: students, scientists and consultants.”
Kentucky is a region well-known for its caves – including the Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest known cave system in the world. However, its little sister in Breckinridge Kentucky also has its charms, as shown by this project. Now it is to contribute to preserving and protecting it. A first impression of the 13.9-mile cave system recorded to date is provided by the fly-through, which carries you off into the widely ramified system of underground corridors.
FARO is a renowned supplier of high-quality portable coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) and 3D imaging devices, FARO technology is used throughout the world for high-precision 3D measurement and scanning. Due to it’s ease of use, accuracy and reliability it has become the measurement of choice across a diverse range of sectors including the Architecture, Construction and Crime scene analysis.
FARO has now extended application of products to new areas. Tracy Hill who worked at the University of Central Lancashire was able to manipulate the FARO Focus 3D x 130 and the FARO Software from here colleagues to allow the creation of a major installation – Sensorium. Given the fact she has never used it before, the ease of use meant that she could experiment and create the effects of visualisation that she was looking for.
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An unprecedented success story began ten years ago when iQvolution AG of Ludwigsburg, Germany, was acquired by FARO Technologies, Inc. This global market leader in the area of portable coordinate measuring machines added 3D laser scanners to its array of products as a result.
“We are confident that this step will push the continuing development of our 3D laser scanning technology towards new products and strengthen the global expansion of our market presence”, said Dr. Bernd Becker, founder of iQvolution and now Chief Technology Strategist at FARO Europe, commenting on the merger – and he was proven right.
A whole range of innovative developments in the areas of 3D laser technology and computer-aided measuring systems bear witness to success. FARO has been ahead of the market for years. How about some examples? In 2006, FARO introduced a laser scanner that allowed three-dimensional measurements to be taken outdoors – and this was a sensation. A short time afterwards, the company again surprised the market when they presented the Photon laser scanner.
The big breakthrough came in 2010 – only five years after taking over the 3D laser scanner line of business and incorporating it into the FARO portfolio: FARO developed the smallest and lightest laser scanner in the world. Furthermore, this high-tech device was as easy to use as a digital camera. The company showcased its consistent ongoing developments with the Focus3D X 130 and the Focus3D X 330, which allow an even greater range while providing excellent and precise measurement results. The 3D documentation business also sustained further growth that year with the Freestyle3D models – top-quality high-precision hand scanners.
In December 1836, the London terminus of the world’s first passenger railway, the London & Greenwich Railway, opened. Almost 180 years later and known as London Bridge Station, the UK’s fourth busiest railway station still reflects some of its early 19th century origins, being an elevated structure built on brick arches, but the complex has since been expanded and reconfigured piecemeal many times.
In addition FARO Laser scanner Focus3D aids Costain in improving its capture and sharing of field data to being a terminus, the station now also caters for through services, including cross-London Thameslink connections, but by the early 2000s the station had become a bottleneck hampering rapid movement of both passengers – some 56 million use the station each year – and trains. To remove the bottleneck and to expand passenger capacity by 40 per cent, Network Rail set about transforming London Bridge station.
Six low-level platforms for terminating services were to be raised to the height of the platforms of through services; the total of through platforms would be increased from six to nine; and a new single concourse at the foot of London’s iconic Shard was to be constructed – and all while continuing to operate passenger rail services through the station and allowing interchange with London Underground, local bus and taxi services, and onward journeys on foot or by bicycle.
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