UCL News


Latest generation 3D colour laser scanner opened

22 March 2007

The latest generation Arius3D colour laser scanner - worth £500,000 and the first of its kind in Europe - was formally opened in the interdisciplinary UCL Chorley Institute on 19 March 2007.


Since the scanner was installed in October 2006, three seminars have attracted more than 60 attendees, including UCL staff drawn from a range of disciplines - from engineering to biomedicine, and architecture to social sciences - as well as staff from the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Museum of London and the National Trust. Arius3D technicians have also trained six UCL staff in the use of the scanner.

More seminars and demonstrations are planned this month with Sharp, Arup, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Courtauld Institute. Staff from UCL Anatomy & Developmental Biology, the UCL Eastman Dental Institute, UCL Computer Science and the UCL National Medical Laser Centre will also be exploring more specific medical and dental applications.

Formally opening the facility, Professor Malcolm Grant, Provost and President of UCL, thanked Arius3D and Dr Anna Clark (UCL Business PLC), who initiated and led the negotiations with the company and managed relationships with associated institutions, museums, companies and end-users.

Professor Bernard Buxton, Dean of UCL Engineering Sciences, spoke of the origins of the project in the 1990s and its culmination in UCL hosting one of the highest-quality 3D scanners in the world. Brian Mori, President of Arius3D, a Canadian company, said he looked forward to a long and prosperous relationship with UCL. Dr Clark thanked all involved, including the Canadian High Commission, the UCL Chorley Institute and the UCL research team led by Dr Stuart Robson (UCL Geomatic Engineering), Sally MacDonald, Director of UCL Museums & Collections, and staff at the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology.

The new scanner's applications will serve a range of sectors, including - but not limited to - heritage, engineering, medicine, dentistry, anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture. It will create opportunities for the university's researchers and conservators, as well as museums and other institutions.

Collaborative projects to date include the scanning of artefacts in the UCL Petrie Museum, which will have the opportunity to display and to support 3D imaging of its collection, while retaining copyright of the images.

In the heritage sector, UCL aims to set international standards and best practice for 3D laser technology and 3D visualisation, as well as developing significant new technologies for authentication, registration and measurement of decay.

Dr Robson, UCL's academic lead on the project, is involved in scanning research proposal discussions with EU Framework 7 groups, as well as with UCL Museums & Collections.

Given the diverse and innovative applications made possible by the scanner, it was appropriate that the opening's attendees included three external members of the new UCL Research Challenges Board: Dr Reg Hinkley, Chief Executive of BP's main UK pension fund; Alain Marcetteau, Chief Operating Officer for Arup Europe; and Dr Malcolm Cooper, Head of Research at the City of London.

Other attendees included Jim McGlone, CFO of Arius3D, and representatives of Centrica, Bonham's, the British Museum, the Museum of London, Invest in Denmark, the Canadian High Commission, the BBC and the National Trust.

UCL staff with an academic interest in scanning should contact Dr Robson (x32726), while those with a business interest should contact Dr Clark (x09822).

To find out more about Arius3D, UCL Business PLC or UCL Research Challenges, use the links at the top of this article.

First image: Still from an Arius3D scan of a limestone shabti (1295BCE-1550BCE), UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

Second image: Professor Bernard Buxton, Dr Anna Clark and Dr Reg Hinkley

Third image: Jim McGlone and Brian Mori of Arius3D, with Cengiz Tarhan, Managing Director of UCL Business PLC

Fourth image: Dr Reg Hinkley and Alain Marcetteau