Metrology, including 3D measurement technologies and 3D scanners, is taking the manufacturing, NDT, quality control and educational sectors by storm. For example, according to Allied Market Research, the global 3D scanning market was valued at $8,427.0 million in 2017, and is projected to reach $53,345.0 million by 2025.And for good reason. 3D scanners, which capture the shape, geometries, textures and colours of objects in the real world, bring that data into the digital realm. As a leader of all types of 3D measurement technologies, including 3D scanners as well as photogrammetry and probing solutions, Creaform has put together some great sources to help you get started in understanding metrology and how our 3D measurement solutions can kickstart your product development, NDT inspections, quality control processes and teaching curricula.What is the history of 3D measurements?3D measurements is actually one of the most recent technologies used in metrology, which is the science of measurement and the standardization of measurements. The first measurements date back to the ancient Egyptians to facilitate commerce, build infrastructure and record human activity. Modern metrology, however, gets its roots from the French revolution.Would you like to learn more about the evolution of metrology? Take a look at this historical timeline of metrology from Galileo to today’s optical systems.How 3D measurement worksThere are two main types of 3D measurements processes: contact and non-contact. Contact 3D measurement solutions probe objects through physical touch, such as touch probes, articulated arms and certain coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). Non-contact 3D measurement technologies, as the name suggests, provide a means to collect 3D data without touching objects. They include 3D laser scanners, structured light scanners, photogrammetry solutions and optical CMM scanners.3D measurement solutions can be further broken down based on acquisition type.Types of 3D measurement technologiesThere are two main types of 3D measurements processes: contact and non-contact. Contact 3D measurement solutions probe objects through physical touch, such as touch probes, articulated arms and certain coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). Non-contact 3D measurement technologies, as the name suggests, provide a means to collect 3D data without touching objects. They include 3D laser scanners, structured light scanners, photogrammetry solutions and optical CMM scanners.3D measurement solutions can be further broken down based on acquisition type.Laser-based 3D scannersThese scanners cast a laser beam upon the object being scanned so that a camera is able to record where the beam and object intersect. The scanner’s position in space is determined based on the technology used such as articulated arm or laser trackers. Laser-based scanners can also rely on positioning targets (small stickers provided with the system that can be placed directly on the part) to position the scanner in space in relation to the part being scanned.Advantages: High-end laser-based 3D scanners generate quality data as well as provide excellent speed, resolution and accuracy. Portable laser-based 3D scanners allow users to scan all types of objects, no matter where they are located (in a lab, on the shop floor or on the field).Creaform’s HandySCAN 3D and MetraSCAN 3D portable 3D scanners are two examples of laser-based 3D scanners. Explore their latest capabilities and features.Structured-light 3D scannersContrary to laser-based scanners, which project one or many laser lines on an object, structured-light (or white-light) scanners project light and shade patterns—all while taking images with a camera. The scanner detects variations in the pattern and relies on the geometry and texture (color) of the object to position the data. Several images must be acquired from various positions until the mesh is complete.Advantages: Structured-light 3D scanners are fast and require close to no set up time. In addition, handheld structured-light 3D scanners are very convenient as they are portable and can be used to scan objects anywhere and in any position.Interested in learning more about structured-light 3D scanners? Make sure you check out Creaform’s white-light structured-light 3D scanner.PhotogrammetryPhotogrammetry technology uses coded targets and snaps multiple images of an object in different positions. The photogrammetry system then triangulates the points in the images to determine the location of them in a three-dimensional space.Advantages: Again, 3D scanners that use photogrammetry are exceptionally accurate and generate repeatable data for larger-sized objects very quickly. Get more information photogrammetry solutions.