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Researchers Combine Artec Spider & Robotics for Unrivaled 3D Scanning of Complex Shapes

There is no denying the power and ease-of-use of the Artec 3D scanners. In fact, as we mentioned in an earlier post, the similar Artec Eva scanner (designed for slightly larger objects) was actually named the best 3D Scanner under $50,000. So when you have a product that already works great with a human operating it, imagine what happens when a robot learns how to use the scanner, and respond in real time to the feedback it’s getting?

The guys at Artec Group, along with engineers from the Visual Computing Research Center, Tel-Aviv University, the Memorial University of Newfoundland, the University of Konstanz, and Shandong University, asked the same question. They combined the Artec Spider with the PR2, a robot boasting a humanistic look and sense of movement. The PR2 holds the Artec in its ‘hand’ and puts it to use, rapidly scanning the most detailed and ornate objects from every angle. The double system captures 7.5 frames per second and processes 1 million points per second, meaning it gets the job done more expediently than a laser printer, and requires no post-processing.

According to 3DPrint.com: “The researchers found that the Artec Spider worked best with the PR2 in terms of high resolution and extreme accuracy regarding edges and miniature parts. In a completely automated scanning system, the PR2 is able to respond to analysis and data from the Artec Spider, moving it and the object strategically and precisely as instructed to complete comprehensive scanning. At each viewpoint, it takes a snapshot, which is merged with the last picture, until a whole object is completed.”

Because this project is focused on objects that are small, can fit into a hand, and have a high level of detail, the Artec Spider is the perfect tool for the job. The Spider was designed specifically for CAD users and perfect for reverse engineering, product design, quality control and mass production. It requires no calibration, no markers and offers real time scan alignment. It also boasts super high detail of fine objects and excellent texture capture.


“Artec’s Scanning SDK is responsible for the program running the Spider, which is able to make a “confidence map” that eliminates challenges with blind spots, recognizing the areas where more scanning is necessary to collect all the data. With the programming from Artec’s Scanning SDK, the system understands when total scanning is complete. During complete testing of Artec’s Scanning SDK, the Artec Spider, and the PR2 working together, researchers concluded that the algorithms responsible for visibility and boundaries were excellent, as well as algorithms regarding rounded edges and density.”

Different Scans Taken with Artec Spider

Different Scans Taken with Artec Spider

Although the Artec Scanners are very user friendly, it is extremely interesting to see how the object is scanned when the user, the PR2 robot, get’s direct feedback. Where a human would have to figure out what angles of the scan they are missing, the robot has a more instantaneous response to what part of the object’s texture and geometry are missing. And it’s great to see more and more ways we can apply the amazing scanning technology behind the Artec series of 3D scanners.



About Objex Unlimited

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We strive to be at the forefront of the 3D printing revolution and to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D. Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes. Objex Unlimited is an authorized reseller of 3D Systems, Artec and LMI Technologies.

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