July 21 (UPI) -- Scientists have developed a new method for producing accurate 3D scans of complex objects. The method's key ingredient is water.
Most 3D scanning technologies rely exclusively on optical devices, laser scanners and cameras. The data collected by these devices can be noisy and incomplete.
Cameras can't pick up features out of their line of sight, resulting in imprecise scans. For example, 3D scanners fail to properly render the shape of a miniature elephant model's rotund underside.
A team of researchers found the addition of some relatively simple arithmetic can bolster 3D scanning technologies. The scientists used fluid displacement to measure the volume of the 3D objects.
As an object is slowly dipped into a tub of water by a robotic arm, a computer model measures the changes in volume displacement, recreating thin slices of the object in 3D. By repeatedly dipping the object at various angles, the computer model can accurately recreate the object's geometry.
Researchers used the dipping method to accurately scan several 3D models. They're scheduled to present their novel 3D-scanning method at SIGGRAPH 2017, a computer graphics conference being held later this summer in Los Angeles.