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USF partners with FARO Technologies

TAMPA, Fla. -- A world-renown team of University of South Florida researchers who have used high-tech scanning devices to unlock the secrets of archaeological sites around the world are set to become the new North American training directors for an advanced generation of laser scanners.

The new technology will speed some of the most tedious, time-consuming, and costly processes in industrial plant and architectural design, heritage management, forensic analysis, building construction, and civil engineering. Using laser technology, the device produces detailed three-dimensional images of complex environments and geometries in only a few minutes.

Assistant Professors Lori Collins and Travis Doering, directors of the Alliance for Integrated Spatial Technologies (AIST), a USF core facility, have joined with FARO Technologies, Inc., the world’s leading provider of portable measurement and 3D imaging solutions, to deliver training on the new FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D. As a core facility, the high-tech equipment and expertise are available to other USF departments and programs to integrate into research and curriculum projects.

The collaboration is a unique partnership between a leading research university and a major technology company that builds on AIST’s international reputation of interdisciplinary research in three-dimensional and spatial documentation and analysis using non-invasive, non-destructive technologies.

The advanced Focus3D is a portable 3D laser scanner that captures 976,000 measurement points per second with millimeter-accuracy and offers the most efficient and precise method for measurement and 3D documentation of a wide range of projects, including construction, crime scenes, accident sites, product geometry. It uses laser technology to produce incredibly detailed three-dimensional images of complex environments and geometries in only a few minutes.

The resulting image is an assembly of millions of 3D measurement points in color that provides an exact digital reproduction of existing conditions. Yet the device is remarkably compact.

“The entirely self-contained scanner weighs about 10 pounds and is small enough to take on a plane as a carry-on,” Doering said.

The new FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D “has revolutionized several industries because it does the work in minutes that used to take days,” Collins said.

Collins and Doering have traveled around the world using advanced technologies to record, capture and recreate ancient archaeological sites spanning many cultures -- from ancient Mesoamerican ruins to 13th century religious monasteries in Spain to Florida’s ancient shell mounds created by indigenous communities as sacred sites.

Among their most recent projects is the examination of Takalik Abaj in Guatemala, an ancient city that may hold clues about the early development of the Classic Maya society. Their goal is to thoroughly record and analyze this important site and to digitally recreate it in 3D for researchers around the world to explore and examine without traveling there or further disturbing the sacred city.

The partnership between FARO and USF marks a significant advancement in education and training in the laser scanning industry. Doering and Collins, in collaboration with engineers at FARO, have designed a training program that takes the user beyond the data collection segment of scanning and into the realm of complete workflows using real-world examples and hands-on training.

“Our goal is to assist the purchasers of the Focus3D to realize the applications, benefits, and return on their technology” Doering said.

“This is a great opportunity for our customers to learn how to maximize the utilization and application of our user-friendly products in a very sophisticated way,” said Jeffrey Bouchard, FARO’s director of learning and organization development. “[USF] is one of the top schools in this field. It’s an honor to partner with them, and I think it will be a real benefit to our customers.”

The program consists of three-day training and education sessions at the USF Tampa campus or one of FARO’s facilities in Michigan, California or Washington. Courses will include extensive literature, hands-on use of FARO’s Laser Scanner Focus3D and FARO Scene software training.

Sessions will revolve around the principles of scanning, real-world scenarios and industry-specific applications. Participants who successfully complete the training program will receive a USF Continuing Education Certificate that demonstrates competency in the field of terrestrial laser scanning and continuing educational credits will be available for qualified disciplines.

Registration for the classes will begin late this summer for Focus3D purchasers. Program inquiries should be directed to Collins at


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Anthropology Alliance for Integrated Spatial Technology (AIST) Research  
Author: Vickie Chachere