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Friday01 August 2014

Scanning the bigger picture

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Capable of creating highly accurate 3D environments and costing around £70,000, the Faro Photon 120 is the Bartlett’s latest research toy.

A video of the Bartlett's Kielder pavilion created using the Photon scanner

One of the world’s largest commercially available 3D laser scanners, the Faro Photon 120 is already used by surveyors, engineers, planners, the FBI and the Metropolitan Police. It has also been used to analyse problems in nuclear reactors.

The Bartlett has been given a scanner on loan from Faro to see if it can find new uses for the technology, which is capable of producing highly accurate 3D representations of almost any built project in a video-game-style environment which can then be exported into cad, Rhino and a number of other relevant programmes.

This research project is being led by senior lecturer Bob Shiel, and thus far they have scanned the architecture school’s entire 2010 exhibition and the Kielder Pavilion by sixteen*(makers) and manufacturers Stahlbogen GmbH seen here.

“Although we used a lot of drawings, we made a lot of decisions about that project that were not drawn. But we have now completely mapped what was built. Those scans are fascinating for us because in a sense they’re giving us the final set of drawings and showing us exactly what the plan ended up being,” said Shiel.

“The accuracy is the big thing. It opens up new potential. But what I like about it is that it feeds back the difference between what gets built and what gets drawn.”

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