NIST has announced the capability to scan objects at a very high level of accuracy. It’s a highly specialized technology that is described as follows:
“Operating with laser power of just 9 milliwatts—which is safe for the eyes at the instrument’s infrared wavelength—NIST’s 3D mapping system scans a target object point by point across a grid, measuring the distance to each point. The system uses the distance data to make a 3D image of about 1 million pixels in less than 8.5 minutes at the current scanning rate. Distances to points on a rough surface that reflects light in many directions can be determined to within 10 micrometers in half a millisecond, with an accuracy that is traceable to a frequency standard.”
They believe the technology may be useful in diverse fields, including precision machining and assembly, as well as in forensics.