3D scanning is the process of analyzing a real-world object or environment to collect data on its shape and possibly its appearance (i.e. color). The collected data can then be used to construct digital three-dimensional models.
The first 3D scanning technology was created in the 1960s.
In modern engineering, the term `laser scanning’ is used to described two related, but separate meanings. The first, more general, meaning is the controlled deflection of laser beams, visible or invisible. Scanned laser beams are used in laser printers, in laser shows, in Laser TV, and in barcode scanners.
The second, more specific, meaning is the controlled steering of laser beams followed by a distance measurement at every pointing direction. This method, often called 3D object scanning or 3D laser scanning, is used to rapidly capture shapes of objects, buildings, and landscapes.