3D Flatbed Scanner

 1. Summary

  • CSIRO Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics (CMIS) has developed an innovative flatbed scanning and imaging system based on a method of scanning the visible surfaces of small 3D objects, for enabling 3D viewing applications and surface measurements.
  • CSIRO’s software can be used to automatically reconstruct 3D object surfaces for measurement and 3D image display in personal and business applications.
  • CSIRO is interested in having discussions with manufacturers to explore the options for sale or licensing of this imaging system for use in scanners, faxes, photocopiers and industrial product quality control applications.

2. Scanners

Representing the third largest segment of the PC peripherals market, scanners transform hard-copy pictures or text into digital data for use in a wide range of applications.

CSIRO’s proprietary imaging technology may be applied, to extend the scanning capabilities, of scanner, photocopier and fax machines, to include 3D images of the visible surfaces of small and low depth of field objects capable of being placed on a scanner. Users will then be able to choose to alternate scanners between 3D and normal modes of operation.

3. Applications

The range of potential business and consumer application areas for 3D scanning applications will be limited only by the imagination. Examples include 3D object presentation for:

  • E-commerce
  • Mobile commerce
  • Product catalogues
  • Cataloguing and display of private or personal collections including numismatics and botanical specimens
  • Displaying museum and archeological pieces

Or if you have an idea for different applications, please let us know.

4. Intended Market Positioning

The goal is to make our 3D scanner the first low cost 3D scanner, positioned to exploit the consumer mass market for conventional flatbed scanners.

Our product will create a new industry segment for low cost 3D scanners of small objects.

5. Value Proposition

3D flatbed scanner technology could bestow a company with a competitive advantage making it possible to engage in the release of innovative new flatbed scanners and photocopiers commanding a price premium over both brand and low cost competitors, whilst generating renewed demand for flatbed scanners.

In addition the technology would provide an imaging company with a low cost entry strategy in to the 3D imaging market, as well as the means for growing this market through the creation of the first mass market segment for 3D imaging products, whilst leveraging established demand for conventional flatbed scanners.

6. Viewing and Representation

Pointing to obvious product bundling options, 3D images may be viewed or represented using:

  • Software for creating vivid onscreen 3D images or mini-movies (the image sequence on the right is created from two images scanned from the prototype 3D flatbed scanner)
  • Liquid crystal shutter or red green 3D glasses
  • Object measurements which can be obtained automatically using CSIRO’s software

7. Manufacturing Requirements

Manufacturing requirements for incorporating the imaging system into conventional flatbed scanners are low, meaning that 3D scanners will have low incremental manufacturing costs over conventional flatbed scanners and be easy to produce.

8. Patent Protection

CSIRO’s 3D imaging system is protected by an Australian provisional patent. CSIRO also intends to file an International Patent Cooperation Treaty application.

9. Commercialisation

CSIRO is interested in having discussions with manufacturers to discuss the options for the exclusive or non exclusive license or sale of this technology for use in the following domains

  • Flatbed scanners
  • Photocopiers
  • Facsimile machines
  • Inspection and quality control for industrial conveyor belt applications

10. Publication

C. Sun, R. Beare, K. Cheong, B. J. Jung, and M. Kim, Stereoscopic Flatbed Scanner. Journal of Electronic Imaging, 18(1):013002, January-March 2009.


Changming Sun
Research Scientist
Tel: +61 2 93253 207