Optical scanning technologies utilize specialty hardware and software to digest and digitize media to make it computer-ready. The hardware is responsible for visually scanning the material, while the software puts it into digital form.The optical scanner features light-sensitive receptors, which are highly effective when compared to a photographic film scanner. In fact, light-based scanners pick up on 70 percent of incident light versus 2 percent through a film scanner. A light-based scanner is often used to replicate 3D models, and it's also commonplace in barcode scanners.
For medical practices, such as in 3D dental scanning, the phase-shifting method is regularly used. Moving the stripe pattern in small increments allows the camera to recognize the entire area of the viewing area through the moved pattern image, which helps to accurately measure various objects.
Laser vs. White Light vs. Blue Light 3D Scanning
Laser scanners are not extremely accurate, and they fail to pick up a reading if the positioning is not perfect. For dental impression and model scans, scanning with laser provides inadequate results as the laser tech works poorly on partially transparent and shiny surfaces. Needless to say, laser scanning is finicky at best but it does serve a worthy purpose outside of the dental world.
Structured light scanning provides a higher level of accuracy, which makes it capable of producing fungible copies of 3D models. A structured light scanner with phase-shifting technology allows the scanner to acquire data from all pixels in the viewing area, resulting in very high resolution and efficiency. In the case of a laser scanner or a line scanner, it is necessary to move 100 times in order to measure an object of 100 mm in 1 mm intervals, but the structure light scanner can acquire data of all the faces visible to the camera in a single measurement. For this reason, regardless of the resolution of the camera, the 3D resolution of a structured light scanner is generally higher.
Structured blue light scanning is similar to white light but focuses on getting wholly accurate readings of model size and definition. This type of scanner serves high-resolution copies and does not require a completely controlled setting to perform well. In many senses, blue light is just a more efficient and useful alternative to white light scanners.
Why Blue Light Scanning Leads the Pack
In dental scanning, the usage of a laser is out of the question, for the reasons pointed earlier. Therefore, the options fall down to white light and blue light scanning products.
For slightly transparent and shiny object scanning, blue light technology is the clear winner. The projected fringes are more readable through blue light than with any other type of scanning technology. This is because the materials used to make the gingiva or scan body are often transparent and blue light with short wavelengths is not transmitted and reflected from the surface.
Due to the usage of LEDs, blue light scans are less sensitive to heat than white light scans. The light source is more consistent and runs for a long period of time. More importantly, a scanning device using structured blue light can pick up a quality reading inside a bright room.
Blue light is the leading technology for structured light scanning devices. It serves the same purpose as what white light scanners set out to achieve. The key difference between the two is that blue light achieves better results. White light was once the standard, but many recent studies support the superiority of blue light and its greater advantages and lesser disadvantages.
In short, light scanning is superior to laser scanning for medical applications, but blue light tends to perform better. The two can achieve the same quality results when scanning in a controlled environment. However, when there's a need for more portability and high resolution in a well-lit room, the go-to solution is a blue light scanner.