Over the past 10 years, 3D scanning has garnered tremendous mainstream attention. What was once a niche, specialized industry is now something that most everyone with access to the internet can see and read about—and, with the help of 3D scanners and printers, experience for themselves. The barriers to entry for the 3D world have never been lower. With every passing year, more and more businesses and organizations will rely on and leverage 3D scanning technologies to generate assets for visualization, measurement, manufacturing, and more—not just for fun or for the pursuit of knowledge, but for profitable business activities.
Supporting all this demand for 3D scanning will be universities, schools, and other places of learning that are tasked with being the first way many people will experience modern 3D scanning technologies. For a trained educator, new subject matter is oftentimes the most difficult part of developing classroom curriculum over time. Teachers and professors are constantly looking for ways to incorporate new learning strategies and technologies in challenging, exciting, pertinent, and motivating ways.
3D scanning fits those criteria on every level, and is consequently finding its way into a variety of classrooms. Take a look at some of the most interesting uses for 3D scanning in classroom curriculums.
Remember the replicators on “Star Trek?” These fanciful synthesizing devices are quickly becoming a reality in the form of 3D printers. Today, almost every college and university boasts a fabrication lab. Fab labs and maker spaces are fabulous settings for students beginning to dive into the world of 3D printing, but they’re made much more capable and interesting to students with the addition of 3D scanning technologies. Instead of requiring a design, these scanners allow the physical world to become digital, and then be made physical again.
Budgeting can often make purchasing new technology difficult for educators, but high-quality 3D scanners from Artec are just a fraction of the cost of good-to-high-quality 3D printers, so they’re simple to add to a funding request.
Artec Studio software produces 3D models immediately ready for 3D printing. Simply set up a portable or desktop scanner and a 3D printer to introduce students to the concept of object duplication. If you’re casting around for some potential objects to scan and 3D print, try things like bobblehead dolls, foosball tables, trophies, and awards.
The future of medicine? It’s bright, and filled with customizable solutions made to meet an individual’s unique needs. That means that medical professionals and care providers must be able to quickly and accurately assess a patient’s condition.
3D scanning allows the human body to be quickly and accurately measured for a variety of purposes, such as prosthetic design and fitting, custom casts, analysis of pre and post-surgery condition, and clinical comparisons of cosmetic surgery. 3D scanners are already being introduced into classrooms and labs in order to familiarize students with this potentially lifesaving technology.
The problem with people is that they don’t hold still—but certain scanners can solve that. Artec 3D scanners for human body scanning can actually accommodate movement, creating a usable, accurate model that compensates for any motion. The body scanning process also allows for measurement with fiduciary markers for athletic and human performance kinesiology studies—just further illustrating the far-reaching potential of body scanning.
Engineering students no longer have to assume a spherical cow when it comes to analyzing an engineering simulation! With the help of 3D scanning, they can set aside simplified models in favor of detailed, highly accurate, full-color models that allow them to see the big picture. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for manufactured parts are just two of the potential engineering uses for 3D scan data.
Artec scanners are designed with maximum versatility in mind, making them ideal for scanning most mechanical parts. These scanners offer the most complete measurement data available, with millions of points being captured over the course of a scan. Mathematical features can be extracted from the scan data, providing a simple way to develop custom parts that fit with limited resources. Students can also use 3D scans to inspect manufactured parts to their design criteria, identifying obvious defects like bumps and dents, but also subtle defects like warping and asymmetry.
Heritage Preservation and Archaeology
As society continues to advance, heritage preservation and archaeological studies will only grow more important to our collective culture. Today’s students are learning to utilize all of the technology at their disposal to act quickly when working in the field or in the lab. 3D scanning allows for the full-color, 3D capture of artifacts, fossils, and art pieces.
Artec portable 3D scanners are a wonderful option for quickly training students to capture data in full color and at high resolutions. One interactive way to introduce this technology is to set up a virtual curation process and assign students to do the preservation work—this will encourage them to learn 3D scanning techniques and best practices through hands-on experience.
Other potential projects might include scanning dinosaur bones and virtually reconstructing the entire skeleton, or creating 3D models of artifacts, artwork, paintings, sculptures, or pottery. Clearly, 3D scanning will continue to prove extremely valuable for preserving and sharing items of great historical significance.
Anthropology and Anatomy
Anthropology and anatomy students are yet another group that can benefit greatly from the use of 3D scanning and modeling in their studies. The learning opportunities are vast: you might have students 3D scan bones for anthropological research, or use existing 3D scan data to analyze bone and skeletal variation to further understand evolutionary biology for modern clinical applications.
Whether your curriculum focuses on fossils, bones, morphological or anatomical research, a 3D scanner can amplify your lessons and provide the firsthand context that simple slides and lectures simply cannot. The Artec EVA and Artec Leo are two forensics-grade 3D scanners that can be used for body scanning and a number of other scanning applications and the Artec Space Spider can’t be beat for scanning small bones with extremely high detail and in color.
Animation and Rendering
Artists and animators have been working in 3D design for years, but 3D scanners are now making life significantly easier for them! Today’s animation students are using 3D scanning to develop 3D models for movies, marketing, and a whole host of other media.
Unless you’re animating a project entirely in black and white, you’ll need some realistic colors to go along with your models. Artec scanners collect color data and produce 3D models naturally able to be rendered in full color, providing students with incomparable starting points for their work. Third-party software like Blender and Mudbox can be used to sculpt the data and edit UV texture maps. You can even use Apple iOS 12 and iOS 13 to view 3D models natively without an app. Animation educators, rejoice!
Vehicle and Machinery Design, Simulation, and Repair
We’re always coveting the newest model of car or marveling at the speed and ingenuity of new aircraft. Design and engineering students are getting hands-on experience creating these very machines with the help of 3D scanning.
The learning potential is vast with this equipment. Scan data can be used as a design reference to create aftermarket parts that fit perfectly. Students can accomplish vehicle repair tasks by using scanners like the Artec EVA and Leo to gather structural shape data and ensure body damage is repaired to within tolerance. Formula SAE racing teams around the country also use Artec 3D scanners to accurately and efficiently design, build, and test their prototype race cars.
Educators might also set up a human interface ergonomics study for drivers, equipment operators, and pilots, so that students can develop different ways to increase efficiency and safety while limiting fatigue. 3D scan data can also be used in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for virtual wind tunnel testing of vehicles, as well as in Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for structural analysis of vehicle frame and machinery.
Fashion and Wearable Technologies
3D technology has even made its way into the fashion industry! Body scanners can be used to create and study wearable technologies like safety equipment. It’s vital for items like this to fit properly, but people come in all shapes and sizes—and mass-produced products don’t always take that into account. 3D scanning can lead to the creation of clothing and wearables for body types and sizes that aren’t commonly available.
The Artec EVA and Leo scanners are designed for full body scanning, even with movement. Protective fire fighting gear, space suits, hazmat suits, body forms, head shapes, and masks are just some of the products that can be modeled and tested with the help of 3D scanners. Get a portable scanner into the hands of your design students, and see what they come up with!
Musical Acoustics and Instrument Design
It might not be evident at first glance, but music actually has quite a bit of math behind it, in the resonance of certain notes, the setup of concert halls, and in the design of instruments. Instrument design specialists use computer modeling to study harmonics, and 3D scans of theaters and concert halls have proved invaluable for acoustic design and analysis.
The field of instrument design has also benefited tremendously from the introduction of 3D scanning. High-profile instruments like the Stradivarius violin can now be fully scanned, analyzed, and archived for posterity. Artec scanners are particularly useful for scanning shiny or glossy surfaces without the special 3D scan sprays required by other types of scanners. The result is a nondestructive, noninvasive scanning process that produces a comprehensive model of any instrument.
Agriculture, Mining, Resource Processing, and Extraction
Universities in farming, mining, and fossil fuel-rich regions are leaning on 3D scanning technology for a variety of applications. Resource processing and extraction requires powerful tools that can maximize output and safety levels while minimizing labor costs. 3D scanners can be used to analyze existing equipment and then design better digging teeth on excavators, or more effective agricultural machines like plows. New machinery can also be scanned over time to determine which designs are the most durable.
Sustainable, or “green” applications are also growing in importance. 3D scanners fit into the picture by enabling the testing and developing of reliable grinding equipment in recycling plants, for example.
3D Scanning in the Education Industry
3D scanning is already changing the learning environment at schools and universities around the world—but this technology will look very different in another 10 years. We’re predicting further advances in scanning technology and equipment, along with 3D scanners integrated into mobile phones. We can’t wait to see that! But for now, most 3D scanning efforts require robust software to be paired with the scanning hardware, and very few companies exist that can provide both.
Artec 3D scanners are far and away the best scanners to use for educational customers, thanks to their versatility, quality, speed, ease-of-use, and affordable price. At Laser Design, a brand of CyberOptics Corporation, our team is made up of skilled experts in the field of 3D scanning, and we’ve provided scanning solutions to hundreds of schools and universities over the years. We’re fully prepared to equip you with the equipment and technical knowledge you need in order to incorporate 3D scanners into your curriculum. Contact us today to learn more about our high-quality 3D scanners and scanning services.