3D scanners are similar to their 2D counterparts in that they take a physical object in the real world, and digitize it into a format that can be saved, shared, and edited on a computer. Once in their digital format, the 3D models made possible by 3D scanners help enable engineering, design, and quality assurance efforts in a variety of industries.
Some of the components found in 3D scanners, like cameras and lasers, will be familiar to anyone with a topical understanding of modern technology. What differentiates a 3D scanner from a normal camera or 2D scanner is the level of precision and accuracy 3D scanners provide. Digital scanning technology like that found in the GOM ATOS Triple Scan can measure millions of points in a single measurement with a high level of precision (measured in microns, for reference 1 micron is 0.001 millimeters) and often complete a scan in a matter of seconds or minutes depending on the size of the job. What is even more impressive is that these scanners can retain this high level of precision on objects ranging from very small (a fingerprint for example) to extra-large (an aircraft).