CultLab3D: Automated Scanning Technology for 3D Digitisation

Martin Ritz

Deputy Head, Competence Center, Cultural Heritage Digitization, Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research

Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research

Fraunhoferstrasse 5 64283 Darmstadt Germany

EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2018 - Research


From a Vision to the First Automated 3D Scanning Pipeline



At the beginning there was a vision: To do the next step from static dome-like structures, the state of the art in optical material behaviour acquisition back in 2012, towards high throughput and automation. Instead of countless static light sources and cameras, we envisioned a system consisting of two rotating arcs, opening up countless possibilities through automation and serving as a research platform for a wide range of optical acquisition techniques for geometry and material behaviour.

CultArm3D-P Result_Fraunhofer IGD

The very first proof of concept of this vision materialized as a wooden arc prototype. Shortly after, a new department was founded, dedicating itself to research and development of autonomous 3D scanning technologies, continuously driving forward the limits of quality and speed.

The first version of an autonomous scanning street consisting of collaborative 3D scanners, CultLab3D, was showcased in Marseille at the Digital Heritage International Congress 2013. By 2015, the entire system was already fully automatic and solely controlled by a single tiny touch pad, serving as interface to enter the artifact ID via QR code to establish a link between the physical artifact and its digital 3D model.


CultArm3D-P_Fraunhofer IGD

CultLab3D received the Europa Nostra Award 2018. The department of Cultural Heritage Digitization continued to realize novel visions and is now active both in the domains of cultural heritage and the industry, demonstrating in both fields that the scanning systems are capable of coping with challenging materials while producing high quality in short time, which is due to continuous improvement of intelligent algorithms such as shape-adaptive view planning.




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