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Greenlight Optics
Structured Light Projection Enables 3D Measurements
Friday, June 15, 2018

Structured light projection is one of the most common methods used for 3D scanning. This method of taking 3D measurements is often referred to as blue light or white light scanning because it includes a projection light source that is either blue or white. The method involves the use of projected light and one or two cameras that measure the three dimensional surfaces of any object by triangulation.

How Structured Light Projection Works

In order to obtain the scanned data by triangulation, a pattern of light is usually projected in a series of parallel lines. These lines when hit the surface of an object, they get distorted. Each camera that’s being used captures this distortion from various angles and triangulates the distance of all the parts that are being scanned. Finally, these three dimensional coordinates that are measured are used to reconstruct the object’s details digitally.

Then during the post-processing phases, a digital mesh of these measurements is created by using these scans by using the software. The software cleans the multiple scans, merges them together and stitches them together. This meshed representation is what that can be used to carry out dimensional inspection operations or for reverse engineering as well.

Where Is Structured Light Projection Used

This method of taking 3D measurements is used on objects because it quickly captures a very high volume of data without damaging or impacting the surface of the object in any way. Owing to the immense speed that these structured light scanners operate with, these scanners offer various advantages, especially with data density. Structured light scanners come in various sizes. That’s why they are widely used in almost every field, from micro scale orthodontic procedures to large objects like airplanes.

Some other applications of this technology are where contact probes, like CMMs, cannot be used. These situations include when the object is elastic, difficult to handle or very delicate. In such cases, structured light projection is the safest option to use because they don’t come into direct contact with the object to take 3D measurements.

When Not to Use Structured Light Projection

The use of structured light scanning depends on several factors, like the object’s reflectivity, transparency, and roughness. In certain cases, structured light projection is not suitable to be used, like when the objects have high diffraction and reflection properties. This is because such properties affect the quality of the 3D measurements.

When Is Structured Light Projection Most Suitable

Structured light scanning is most appropriate in the following cases:
  • If the object has complex geometry
  • If lots of objects need to be measured
  • If the object cannot bear contact to take measurements
  • If the measurement process has to be very fast
Structured light projection gives you the ease of taking 3D measurements of the most delicate objects even. Moreover, the accuracy of these structured light scanners is excellent. Greenlight Optics develops structured light projectors and advanced imaging lenses to enable structured light projection measurement systems.


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