Dec
18
2015

New methods in the Big Bat Cave

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.

 

Nov
26
2015

Always one step ahead – 10 years of laser scanning

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.

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Oct
14
2015

Increased safety for pieces of art

Now it’s official: paintings and pieces of art that have been scanned with the FARO Focus3D suffer no damage through heat. This has been confirmed by a report by Seibersdorf Labor GmbH.

The recordings of pieces of art or interiors of museums is quick and reliable with laser scanners – and can even be done during visiting hours thanks to the safety of scanners for eyes. Nevertheless, the question of whether pieces of art suffer damage as a result of scanning arises time and again. Reason enough for FARO to have this danger investigated in a report.

Oil paintings are seen as particularly sensitive. Paint and oil have low thermal conductivity and heat capacity values. The high-energy laser could cause an increase in the temperature on the surface and damage the substance of the painting considerably. The report does away with these fears.

Meet the new FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D X 330
For a worst case scenario, a FARO Focus3D X was set up at a distance of one metre from an oil painting – without any protective glass between the piece and the scanner. If a scan is conducted in which the scanner moves horizontally – as is customary in practice – there is a temperature increase on the surface of the oil painting of less than 1.3 degrees Celsius. Even if the head of the scanner doesn’t move and the painting is thus scanned with the laser beams for several minutes, the maximum temperature increase is under 2 degrees Celsius.

To test restorative techniques for example, it is normal to place items with oil paints in an oven for several days at over 60 degrees Celsius and so accelerate an aging process. Against this backdrop, it quickly becomes clear that a short-term temperature increase of less than 2 degrees Celsius due to the FARO Focus3D will cause no damage. This has now been confirmed in the report by Seibersdorf Labor GmbH. It also permits the conclusion that photochemical effects are very unlikely at a wavelength of 1,550 nm – good news for the use of the FARO family of laser scanners in the area of cultural assets.

Aug
12
2015

FARO @ TCT Birmingham

FARO staff will demonstrate the FARO Edge touchscreen computer for basic measurements, the FARO Laser ScanArm HD with the lightest laser line probe for non-contact measurements and the revolutionary high speed FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D for detailed 3D modeling and image documentation. To help illustrate the FARO Edge ScanArm HD LLP remarkable data-capture and transfer capabilities it will be connected to a Laser Lines 3D printer.

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TCT Live is the event for Product Development and Additive Manufacturing in Europe. It is an essential event for everyone involved in the concept, design, specification and manufacturing process to learn about the latest in Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing and other cutting edge product development software and technology.

Jul
23
2015

FARO, Autodesk & UCL AEC tech collaboration day

With around 100 participants involved in the FARO, Autodesk & UCL AEC tech collaboration day, the event itself seems to have gone down very well indeed. We would like to thank all those who took part and helped make this event happen with a special shout out to Autodesk and the guys over at UCL for all their support.

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Due to the success of the event we plan to hold an annual event so stay tuned for more details..

However if you wish to find out more about what we do here at FARO then check out our FARO UK Website or alternitavely check out our FARO UK YouTube channel!

Jul
20
2015

Scientists Build High Precision 3D Model of Gomantong Caves

Located in Sabah, East Malaysia, Gomantong Caves is a 65-million-year-old limestone cave system that is famous for its edible-nest swiftlet and bat populations, as well as an ecosystem of critters and creatures that thrive in dark and moist conditions. Despite its harsh environment, Gomantong still sees its fair share of visitors, whether they be bird’s nests collectors or eco-tourists.

In July 2014, a group of seven international academics embarked on an expedition to the far North East of Borneo to study the renowned Gomantong Caves. Funded by the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions, the project’s goal was to obtain highprecision, three-dimensional (3D) laser scans of the complex cave systems, and to integrate the scan data with the digital elevation model of Gomantong Hill’s surface.

Involving specialists of various fields from six countries, the study is driven by an interest to understand the interaction between animals and landform changes, and is a continuation of earlier expeditions to Gomantong Caves and Niah Caves in Sarawak. FARO – the world’s most trusted source for 3D measurement technology – partnered the team.

Gomantong caves

Obtaining a 3D Model

Under the guidance of Professor Donald MacFrlane from the Keck Science Department, The Claremont Colleges (California, USA), the interdisciplinary research team included Mr. Warren Roberts from the Honhold Library, The Claremont Colleges, Professor Joyce Lundberg from the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa (Canada), Professor Manfred F. Buchroithner and Mr. Benjamin Schröter from the Institute for Cartography, Technische Universität Dresden (Germany), Mr. Guy van Rentergem from Deinze (Belgium) and Keith Christensen from Falls Church (Virginia, USA).

Prof. Buchroithner commented, “This expedition is an essential data collection trip for us to build a very detailed 3D model that will enable further scientific research. The 3D ‘cave map’ will then form the basis of various geologic and biologic tasks that each team member will undertake.”

For the cave biologist, it would be important to identify the exact distribution of bats and swiftlets; for the geologist, however, the vertical profiles that indicate cave genesis or the horizontal profiles that give elevation contour lines would be vital information. In that regard, it is absolutely critical for the team to ensure flawless execution in the early stages of data collection.

Gotamon caves

Prior Knowledge & Rich Experience

As several members possessed rich experience in terrestrial laser scanning, particularly in caves, the team had a good idea of what was required, and of what to expect. In particular, given that scanning would be performed in a remote location that was dark, dirty, humid, and distant, the device had to be able to overcome all those difficulties.

Having had prior experience with the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D, Prof. Buchroithner was fully aware of its capabilities. He shared, “Clearly, we needed a device that was rugged, lightweight, and capable of capturing accurate data even with low ambient lighting. My prior encounter with the Focus3D gave me full confidence that the new Focus3D X 330 would deliver the results we needed. In fact, it surpassed our expectations in several ways!”

Over 17 days of fieldwork, the team worked tirelessly for at least eight hours a day, taking a total of 270 detailed, over-lapping scans in the cave system. Back in the office, these scans were then processed using the FARO SCENE software, which eventually resulted in the detailed 3D cave model that the team desired.

The research team unanimously felt that the Focus3D X 330 provided highly accurate scans in a consistent manner. Measurement times were also significantly reduced as the device could collect large amounts of data in just a few minutes. In addition, the power efficiency and portability of the Focus3D X 330 – both in weight and form factor – made it even more attractive for the cave-scanning project. Not only was the device easy to bring around, it did not require additional computers or heavy battery units for a day out in the field.

On several occasions, the team members had to perform scans in extreme ‘exposed locations’, where there was no way to deploy the device on a tripod. The Focus3D X 330 was put to the test, as it collected data while being held in oblique or even horizontal positions. In some instances, researchers even risked their lives to perform scans by hanging from vertical rock-faces of cave shafts, just to collect sufficient point cloud data for a complete model. These ‘stunts’ were made possible only because the Focus3D X 330could scan even with significant device inclination, unlike other older devices that required a level base.

Perhaps most noteworthy of all, the latest version of the FARO SCENE enabled the team to process the captured data more efficiently. The software’s ability to support targetless scan registration meant that artificial markers were no longer required for scans to be positioned in post-processing. In actual fact, the FARO SCENE stitched data from separate scans accurately and quickly, even under challenging conditions.

“The automated merging function in the FARO SCENE facilitates the processing of scans tremendously,” said Prof. Buchroithner. “The fact that the software can deal with an irregular environment like the Gomantong Caves is a testament of its strength.”

Indeed, the FARO SCENE software was celebrated for its user-friendliness by this research team. It allowed them to generate reports easily and to utilize CAD data in later stages. Photo-realistic images could also be added as an overlay to provide simulation, providing flexibility in data manipulation.

At the end of the trip, the interdisciplinary research team managed to complete the geometric model they aimed for. Furthermore, the resulting 3D ‘cave map’ is now the most accurate worldwide, and the one with the highest data volume. Prof. Buchroithner concluded, “We appreciate the technical support that we have received from FARO in the past few years. Without it, these demanding projects would not have been possible. I hope to ‘conquer’ more caves in other parts of the world with FARO in future.”

 

Jul
14
2015

2015 Innovation Awards – Faro Crime Scene Scanner

A clip from Larimer County demonstrating the benefits of our FARO Laser Scanner and how it excels in comparison to previous methods when tasked with documenting a crime scene.

Brian Wangler, a Crime Lab Analyst for the Northern Colorado Sheriff’s Office, received the award for his efforts in introducing the FARO Focus3D X 120 Laser Scanner solution to Larimer County.

By allowing investigators to capture crime scenes in 3D, the FARO Laser Scanner provides an exact record of the entire scene at the touch of a button and permits the site to be returned to normal use a short time later.

With 3D documentation replacing crime scene sketches, the crime scene reconstruction can be visited multiple times to verify witness testimony or evaluate hypotheses. Forensic scientists can accurately analyze line of sight, blood spatter and bullet trajectories to complement other techniques such as offender’s height estimation from video surveillance.

To find out more than click here!

Apr
13
2015

FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner scans San Mamés Stadium

The smallest and lightest laser scanners on the market – Focus3D X Series are ideal tools for indoor and outdoor applications. The fast and accurate laser scanners Focus3D offer everything you might expect from professional 3D laser scanners – with FARO’s established and well-known level of simplicity.

Below is a perfect example of the Focus’s range, even in direct sunlight as well as it’s easy positioning with the integrated GPS receiver, as it scans the San Mamés Stadium, home to  Athletic Bilbao.

As-built surveys using 3D laser scanning technology, such as the FARO Laser Scanner, provide users with detailed point clouds which enable 3D modelling for diverse tasks including building reconstruction, plant layout and enhanced data presentation with augmented reality.

With fast turnaround times on scans of buildings and entire environments, FARO’s 3D laser scanner can deliver fully surfaced CAD models for a variety of industries. Architectural design, civil engineering and construction, facility management, and cultural heritage have all benefited from this 3D FARO solution.

In order to find more video like this then visit our FARO YouTube Channel to see what FARO can do for you!

Apr
02
2015

FARO Focus 3D X330 Laser Scanner – Bridge Documentation

The smallest and lightest laser scanners on the market – Focus3D X Series are ideal tools for indoor and outdoor applications. The fast and accurate laser scanners Focus3D offer everything you might expect from professional 3D laser scanners – with FARO’s established and well-known level of simplicity.

The FARO Focus3D X 330 is specially designed for outdoor applications due its small size, light weight, extra long range, extended scanning possibilities even in direct sunlight and easy positioning with to the integrated GPS receiver. Pefect for a versatile range of applications including; Accident Reconstruction, As-Built Documentation, Business Information Modelling (BIM), Crime Scene Analysis, Virtual Simulation and much more…!

For more videos then head to our FARO GB YouTube page or head over to our FARO UK Website.

Mar
31
2015

Successful scanning of Diseworth Parish Church to build digital 3D models

The Digital Building Heritage Group is a multi-disciplinary research cluster of staff and research students at De Montfort University specialising in scanning of historic buildings. The survey of this church is part of a current Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded Connected Communities initiative in conjunction with the Trust’s ongoing All our Stories Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) project called “A Thousand Years of History – Diseworth Parish Church from Mercia to Modern Times”.

St. Michael’s and All Angels was a prime candidate for the As-built Documentation because of its complexity and delightful geometric “irregularities” which arise from the many changes and additions that have been made to the building over its one thousand year history. Diseworth also has a superb little heritage centre in a recently restored Baptist Chapel. It was an ideal location for the field base for examination of the documentary evidence the Trust has collected about the history of their church and for discussing the detailed survey of the building fabric and the 3D modelling work. “This is a central part of the co-production process of this project, working together with the Trust volunteers and their experts not only to add value and a further dimension to their work but to enable them to adopt and use some of our digital technologies at a number of levels”, said Douglas Cawthorne.

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The laser scanning process was started inside of the building and then moved to the exterior. “A major advantage of laser scanning is that you can accurately measure features dozens of meters away which makes measuring church spires and high vaults much easier and less risky,” added Douglas Cawthorne. “The FARO Focus3D is particularly suited to capturing the complex forms of historic buildings at a level of detail that is particularly useful” highlights the leader of the Digital Building Heritage Group at De Montfort University. Before using the Laser Scanner time consuming traditional hand-survey measurements would have been needed but with the Faro Focus this time was cut substantially. To supplement the laser scans the Diseworth Heritage Trust had also undertaken a detailed photographic survey, focusing specifically on individual architectural features and materials. High quality photographs have for a long time been an important aspect of historic building documentation but photographs specifically of materials like wall surfaces and floors as well as of specific architectural features can also be used to produce digital “texture maps” which can then be applied to the 3D digital models to give them a realistic appearance. “This is something we are keen to do with St. Michael’s and All Angels because the variation in materials, particularly in the stonework is important in communicating the developmental sequence of the building” highlights Dr. Cawthorne.

The technology of modern laser scanning makes the process of acquiring dimensional data relatively of that data and then using it to then build one or more 3D digital models of the building that takes time. The aim of using the 3D model is to show the building in a series of developmental phases from its earliest Saxon form in the early 11th century AD to its form as it is now. This is intended to assist the Diseworth Heritage Trust in explaining the history of St. Michael’s and All Angels through illustrations for a forthcoming book to be published by the Trust towards the end of the year.



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