Limitations of the UMW 3D Laser Scanners

So far the process of 3D laser scanning has been one of my group’s greatest challenges. We met with our technical support a couple of times to learn about the different laser scanners and how to use them. Feeling confident that we could successfully scan the objects, we arranged for the museum curator to bring the bicorne hat and the wedding shoe to UMW for us to scan last week. We tried to scan the shoe first and found that the laser scanner could not distinguish between the black heel and the black rotating platform of the scanner. Then we tried to raise the height of shoe by setting it  on a book covered with a piece of paper. The scan successfully captured the form of the shoe, but it did not apply color, resulting in a lumpy gray object. We found out that neither of the rotating scanners apply color, despite that being one of the requirements we listed when we were learning about the scanners.

Yesterday we decided to try to scan the hat at the James Monroe Museum. Initially, we were going to try to use the Xbox Kinect laser scanner. However, first we had problems connecting to the museum’s internet, and then we were unable to get the computer program to recognize the scanner. We ultimately decided to place the hat and its mount on top of a stool to enable us to scan it with the Structure Sensor scanner on the iPad. The base of the hat’s mount reflected light, so the scanner was unable to focus on the hat. Fortunately, we were able to cover the base with paper, allowing us to scan the hat. We found that the Structure Sensor was able to capture the hat’s form and overall color pattern. However, it was not able to scan a deep crevice created by the brim, resulting in a hole in the 3D image. The Structure Sensor was limited in that the image must be scanned at once and cannot be edited or stitched together with another image. Finally, we also had problems getting the file from the iPad because it had to be emailed and the iPad was not connected to the internet.

Hopefully we will be able to find out how to successfully use the Xbox Kinect scanner or be able to check out the school’s laptop since internet access is problematic for the iPad at the museum. We could also try to bring the objects to UMW where we could use either scanner, although it is difficult to find times that work for both the curator and the scanning expert when the room the scanners are in is not occupied.