Profile scanners use a technique similar to what television station weather people use to "stand" in front of the weather map. In reality the weather person is standing in front of a colored background (typically blue or green). A special piece of video equipment subtracts the background color out of the video.

    The profile scanners typically place a computer controlled turn-table in front of a colored background. The object to be scanned is placed on the turn-table. At every so many degrees, a video camera captures an image of the object. The scanner calculates the profile of the object by looking for the transition of the background color to something else. Using the i,j coordinates of the image profile and the turn-table rotation, 3D coordinates can be calculated. The non-background colors are used to create a texture map of the object.

    While profile scanners tend to be inexpensive, they have a major drawback. They can not capture concave parts of the object.

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