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.



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.


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.


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!


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.”



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!


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!


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.


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.


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.


On FARO and the Future of 3D with CEO Jay Freeland

jay-freelandJay Freeland, President and CEO of FARO Technologies Inc is one of the leading players in the 3D laser scanning industry. If you know anything about Jay, you know that he has been vocal about pushing the development of 3DLS technology so it can reach the widest professional community possible, a task he refers to as the “democratization” of 3D. Clearly, Jay and FARO have some big plans for the future.

I caught up with Jay following FARO’s 3D Documentation conference this year to discuss FARO’s future, why democratizing 3DLS tech is so important, and why making a more affordable scanner is so difficult. Jay also gave me a picture of what he imagines the future of 3D will look like, and just how far off we are from 3D finally breaking big.

Sean Higgins: During his keynote, Rob Pietsch [FARO’s VP of marketing for the Americas] said that this year’s conference wasn’t about the scanner so much as what you can do with it. Can you talk a little more about the things that FARO is working on to change what you can do with the scanner?

Jay Freeland: Numbers one and two are ease of use and price of entry. When you think about bringing technology to a set of users to adopt when that technology doesn’t exist in the space currently—those are the types of things that can help drive the penetration.

I think the third piece that goes along with that is customizing the solution for the different verticals, and maybe even specific applications depending on how unique they are to the customer. That drives the adoption as well.

For us, internally, we’re driving all three of those at the same time. Some of it is through our own R&D, of course, and there’s still a lot of work to be done on lowering the total cost of ownership, lowering the price of the scanner to the general population.

In many respects, we’re still in the early adopter phase of the cycle. When you look at the price point today versus where we think it needs to go in the longer term, our current pricing is still much higher than the normal threshold for a lot of surveyors, law enforcement, and construction, and those different groups.

A lot of what we do is going to be through mergers and acquisitions. So if you look at the acquisition of CAD Zone, that’s a good example, and a first step toward offering software that’s specific to an industry. There are other acquisitions like that. We can pick up application layers that can easily be attached to the scanner, and allow us to integrate 3D data into existing software.

The last way is via things like the app store. Oliver Bürkler talked about the app store and what we’re doing there. You’ll see users who have very specific applications—they’ll write the app, put it on the app store, and it will go to a really small sliver of the marketplace, but it will be available.

All of that goes back to driving the ease of use for the customer and lowering the entry point.

Sean: This ties into a common theme from the 3D Documentation conferences, which is the democratization of 3D scanning technology. Why is that so important to FARO?

Jay: Number one, it’s important to us because we believe this is the right way to solve the measurement problems that are out there. That means pure measurement in the traditional surveyor’s sense or the traditional construction sense, all the way through the imaging side of it, where we look at how people are establishing the imaging for games, or in the movie or television industries.

The ability to capture rapidly at that level of accuracy and with that level of density and detail is the next evolutionary step away from traditional cameras, tape measures, and total stations.

Number two, if you look at it from a business standpoint—when you’re thinking about surveyors, civil engineers, construction engineers, law enforcement personnel, law enforcement agencies, investigative agencies—there are easily a couple million customers who we could sell the technology to.

FARO as a company has sold to only 15,000 customers in total, and that accounts for the fact that the vast majority of our customers are on the metrology side, in the industrial world, where we’ve been for 30 years. So, we have barely scratched the surface. I mean, that is a massive market opportunity. If we solve that market problem correctly – from the technology standpoint, the ease of use standpoint, the price point – it becomes a viable option for all of those folks to make the transition from 2D into full 3D.

Sean: For anyone who wasn’t there at the conference, what would you say was the big takeaway? I noticed there wasn’t a big product or software announcement.

Jay: What I really want them to think about is the opportunity that’s out there to improve their own businesses, to make their own businesses more productive, more profitable. I want them to think about the opportunity to solve the current problems that people are solving today, plus a whole array of new problems that can’t be adequately solved. The scanner opens up a whole new world for people to do that. That’s takeaway number one.

Number two is that the scanner is already pretty darn easy to use, and pretty affordable, and they can rely on FARO to drive that to a point where it is entirely easy to use and entirely affordable for the population of targeted users.

Now, does that mean that the average Joe on the street is going to walk up and buy a laser scanner? I don’t think we’re anywhere close to that in the near term. When you think about consumer 3D printing and things like that, it’s a whole different marketplace. Somebody’s going to solve problem that through a smartphone, through normal camera technology. The image can be dimensionally proportionate, but it doesn’t need to be dimensionally accurate. It will be good enough for the average consumer, but that’s not FARO’s world.

Our world is the professionals who really need the technology because that’s how they make their living and that’s how they protect the safety of citizens, and how they ensure the efficiency and accuracy of civil works projects, or large construction projects, or buildings and other things of that nature. So takeaway number two is that we are, in fact, going to make the technology accessible to that broad user set.

Takeaway number three is that we are still in the early adopter phase. All the people who are at the conference are the pioneers from an end-user standpoint. So their feedback as to where we should be going – or where we can be going – is vital to helping solve the broader problem across that total market opportunity.

Even if we had a product release, I would say those are three takeaways and the product release would be the fourth one. This is a bigger mission to think about what we are trying to do in a very wide open market where we are barely scratching the surface. We’re just getting started.

Sean: In that case, I’d also like to ask where you’d like to see 3D laser scanning technology used where it isn’t already used. Do you have any ideas for future possibilities? 

Jay: You know, I hear this question and of course I get excited, because I think it could be used everywhere. Like I said, everything’s got three dimensions, it’s just a matter of whether it’s worth capturing it or not.

Can I find an industry where they’re not using it yet? I’m hard-pressed to find one where there isn’t at least someone who’s trying it out. Again, we’re in that early adopter phase. For me the bigger question, or maybe the one that’s more appropriate at this time is: What do we need to do to drive better adoption across all of those different verticals?

Sean: How far do you think the industry is from producing hardware and software that makes this technology truly easy for those verticals to adopt?

Jay: I think we’re close. And when I say close it doesn’t mean that two months from now FARO is going to release something that hits the mark—we’re certainly not that close. When I think about the price point that really makes sense to the marketplace and the feedback we get from the customers we are already dealing with, the engineering task at hand is not insignificant.

It’s not like if you sold 10,000 scanners a year, you’d get enough volume leverage to help bring the price down. You couldn’t sell enough scanners the way the technology is currently configured. So it’s a real engineering challenge to be solved. Obviously nobody has solved it yet, and we feel like we’re in the position to do it.

If we’re sitting here in five years’ time and I’m still at the same price point, then something has gone really amiss.

Sean: At the end of an interview, I like to include a big question. What do you imagine for the future of 3D technology? Where do you think it will be in 50 years?

Jay: If I take the broadest possible picture and not think about what we’re trying to do—in 50 years, if the entire world doesn’t have the ability to do things in 3D at their fingertips, then something has gone awry. Will people still hang regular 2D photographs in their houses because of the image, the memory, etc? Of course. When you’re using smartphone or your camera, are you going to have the option to take the photograph in 3D or 2D? For sure. Will you be able to take that data and send it off to either a 3D printer at your house or a FedEx or a Kinko’s that has them? For sure.

Do I think that the professional world, you know, the industries that we talk about that we target, do I think that all of them will be using 3D technology in 50 years? Yes, I think they will be using it, if not 100% of the time, then it will be pretty darn close.

I think people will be able to walk around with something they are able to hold in their hand and get the same image clarity and accuracy, and perhaps maybe not the same range, but good enough for a lot of the projects. I have no doubt the technology will migrate there.

Do I think that we’ll be able to scan data, immediately upload it through the cloud, back to their offices and already have all the data rendered and all the visualizations done before they even get back? No question in my mind. That’s where I see it headed.

I am one of those true believers that it’s never a matter of if it can be done. Yes, there are laws of physics and things like that, but people have challenged the laws of physics pretty effectively. It’s not a matter of if it can be done, it’s just a matter of when. If you give a 50-year time window like that, there’s not a doubt in my mind that all of that, and probably well beyond that is going to happen.


Ninety Six National Historic Site preserved thanks to FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner

South Carolina ETV and the University of South Florida’s Alliance for Integrated Spatial Technologies are working collaboratively with the Ninety Six National Historic site to produce a public documentary highlighting the technology and the story of the Kosciusko tunnel located at the park.

This project is a partnership between the mentioned entities and throws light on a lesser known part of the Revolutionary War History. The Kosciuzsko (pronounced KOS CHoos’CO) tunnel which is located leading up to Star Fort, is a tunnel that was dug by patriots in an effort to dislodge the British from their stronghold at Ninety Six.

Military Tunnel 3D Scan

The Alliance for Integrated Spatial Technologies was contracted to map the tunnel and surrounding area, whereby they used one our very own, the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner to get the job done! The finished product will be used to find the best way to preserve the tunnel AND at the same time make it accessible through 3D mapping and imaging for preservation and educational purposes. ETV Upstate is working with AIST and the Ninety Six National Historic Site to help with the educational part of this project.

The overall project includes a thirty minute program, a short documentation video of the Tunnel laser mapping process, and other products derived from video content collected in support of the full program.

To find out more about the FARO Focus 3D Laser Scanner by heading over to our FARO Website and checking out our YouTube Page!


FARO® Expands Presence in Architecture, Engineering and Construction with Acquisition of kubit

Located in Dresden, Germany, kubit has been developing field-proven software products to enable and simplify the use of real world objects in CAD applications since 1999. Initially launched to link total stations directly to AutoCAD, today kubit is the industry leader in providing tools to integrate 3D laser scan data with CAD environments such as Autodesk Revit and AutoCAD.  kubit’s software is hardware independent, giving customers the flexibility to utilize any hardware offering, thus ensuring maximum productivity.

“The acquisition of kubit is an exciting step in FARO’s strategy to develop integrated, disruptive 3D documentation product offerings for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction market,” stated Jay Freeland, FARO’s President and CEO.  “By adding kubit’s products to our portfolio, customers now have significantly enhanced software options to serve a vast array of point cloud modeling, analysis needs, and measurement capabilities with very high connectivity to the Autodesk suite of products.”

For more information about FARO’s 3D scanning solutions visit our website or to see the full press release of the aquisition click here!



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