How does a lidar 3D scanner work

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How does a lidar 3D scanner work

Post by mim44 »

To use this lidar sensor to capture a space in 3D, you’ll need a method for directing the laser so it sweeps the space automatically. Manufacturers have developed a lot of clever ways to do this over the years, including microchips and spinning motors.

The oldest method is a mirror. As the laser fires off hundreds of thousands of pulses per second, the mirror spins in two axes to direct the lasers, which then blanket the surrounding environment.

In a matter of seconds, this rudimentary 3D laser scanner can measure millions of points in three dimensions. This gives it a cloud of single-point measurements, better known as a point cloud — the basic data type generated by a lidar sensor.

What other technology is in a lidar scanner?
Any 3D laser whatsapp database scanner you might use is much more than a simple lidar sensor and a method for directing the laser around. It includes a few more important technologies that make it easy for you to capture your environment.

A lidar scanner might include:

A lidar sensor as described above would have no idea what way is up or down. These mechanisms use gravity, enabling your 3D laser scanner to understand its pose in space — and orient the point cloud correctly.


Not all devices include a camera, but a camera enables a 3D laser scanner sensor to capture color information for its surroundings, in addition to distance and intensity information. A camera is sometimes used in mobile mapping systems as another data stream for the SLAM algorithm.

(This algorithm is the technology that enables you to walk as you capture. You can learn everything you’d want to know about SLAM on our learning page here).
Virtually every 3D scanner includes an onboard computer. This will perform tasks like controlling the lidar sensor, performing some processing on the point cloud, and storing point cloud data in memory. In a mobile mapping system, the computer also runs the SLAM algorithm.
So you can select settings for accuracy and distance, and in some cases see feedback on the scan.
Total station
When a 3D laser scanner is built to measure at the absolute highest accuracy, it can be combined with a traditional total station. This makes it easy to lock the point cloud to survey control.
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