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Sensors 2012, 12(7), 9046-9054; doi:10.3390/s120709046
Article

Analysis of Uncertainty and Repeatability of a Low-Cost 3D Laser Scanner

*  and
University Centre of Mérida, University of Extremadura, 06800 Mérida, Spain
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 May 2012 / Revised: 26 June 2012 / Accepted: 29 June 2012 / Published: 2 July 2012
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Abstract

Portable 3D laser scanners are a valuable tool for compiling elaborate digital collections of archaeological objects and analysing the shapes and dimensions of pieces. Although low-cost desktop 3D laser scanners have powerful capacities, it is important to know their limitations. This paper performs an analysis of the uncertainty and repeatability of the NextEngineTM portable low-cost 3D laser scanner by scanning an object 20 times in two different resolution modes—Macro and Wide. Some dimensions of the object were measured using a digital calliper, and these results were used as the “true” or control data. In comparing the true and the scanned data, we verified that the mean uncertainty in the Macro Mode is approximately half that of the Wide Mode, at ±0.81 mm and ±1.66 mm, respectively. These experimental results are significantly higher than the accuracy specifications provided by the manufacturer. An analysis of repeatability shows that the successive replicates do not match in the same position. The results are better in Macro Mode than in Wide Mode; it is observed that the repeatability factor is slightly larger than the corresponding mode accuracy, with ±0.84 vs. ±0.81 mm in Macro Mode and ±1.82 vs. ±1.66 mm in Wide Mode. We suggest several improvements, such as adding an external reference scale or providing a calibrated object to allow for a self-calibration operation of the scanner.
Keywords: laser scanning; low-cost scanner; uncertainty; repeatability; NextEngine laser scanning; low-cost scanner; uncertainty; repeatability; NextEngine
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Polo, M.-E.; Felicísimo, Á.M. Analysis of Uncertainty and Repeatability of a Low-Cost 3D Laser Scanner. Sensors 2012, 12, 9046-9054.

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