CultLab3D is specialized in the development of innovative 3D scanning technologies. They can flexibly be combined to capture objects of various sizes in an automated process. By scanning both geometry and texture as well as optical material properties, we generate true-to-original 3D representations with accuracy down to micrometer level.

Our 3D scanning technologies offer countless new possibilities, be it for the industry or the construction, creative and healthcare sector. The 3D data gained serves quality control, reconstruction, or surface reconstruction purposes. It is also used for digital documentation, presentation, and preservation of cultural assets. CultLab3D has long-standing experience in the true-to-detail digitization of artifacts or building-size structures.

CultLab3D is the research lab of the Competence Center Cultural Heritage Digitization at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD. With funding of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the department has developed the world’s first autonomous 3D scanning pipeline for fast and economic mass digitization. We continuously optimize our 3D technologies for a wide range of applications, from capture to visualization to printing.


Fraunhofer IGD‘s CultLab3D pipeline system at the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung. “Apollo Belvedere“ (1497/98) by Renaissance sculptor Pier Jacobo Alari Bonacolsi (ca. 1460- 1528), called Antico, on the mobile digitisation lab. Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung‘s Medieval Hall. Photograph: Norbert Miguletz © Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung


CultLab3D is specialized in automating the process of 3D digitization of cultural heritage artifacts. We offer detailed, color calibrated and affordable technologies for cultural institutions such as museums or auction houses. Our scanning technologies are easy to handle and make 3D digitization possible even on a large scale. They allow for large amounts of objects to be digitized efficiently in 3D while reaching micrometer precision.

Autonomous CultArm3D-Laser Scanner © Fraunhofer IGD


CultLab3D offers automated technologies for 3D digitization in great accuracy. A special feature of our systems is that components can be scanned autonomously and in real time. The measuring is performed without teaching, irrespective of the component’s design. Besides, our systems are modular to allow a flexible combination of scanning technologies according to the respective scenario. We develop individual solutions to meet specific needs.


Mobility & Modularity

Acquisition of geometry, texture, and optical material behavior

Acquisition of complex materials

Fully automated scanning process

Color calibrated systems

Short scan duration with high throughput and in high quality

Recent Scan Results


CultLab3D develops a wide range of technologies for a broad spectrum of applications, from highly precise geometry measurement of small objects to economic and fast mass digitization with autonomous robot-supported scan systems. We focus on the development of 3D scanning technologies which reproduce objects true to the original and with micrometer precision. We continuously expand the state-of-the-art with innovative approaches.

Meso-Scanner V2 © Fraunhofer IGD
Meso-Scanner V1 © Fraunhofer IGD
The world’s unique 3D scanning facility for cultural artefacts, CultLab3D, in the lab at Fraunhofer IGD © Fraunhofer IGD
Real-Time Structured-Light Scanner © Fraunhofer IGD


Color-calibrated replicas using 3D printing

Skull of a Frankish woman


EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2018
In June 2018, CultLab3D was recognized with the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2018 in the category “research”. The ceremony of Europe’s most prestigious prize was taking place in the context of the European Heritage Year 2018 “Sharing Heritage” – in the presence of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany and patron of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, European Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, and chair of Europa Nostra, Maestro Plácido Domingo.

The Europa Nostra Award recognizes notable achievements in the field of cultural heritage conservation. It highlights research, education and services by individuals or organizations to raise awareness for heritage protection. The award is supported by Europa Nostra, which awards the prize once in a year since 1978 and since 2002 together with the European Commission.

Digital Leader Award 2017
In June 2017, the Competence Center for Cultural Heritage Digitization was honored with Germany’s most important award in the field of digitization. The digitization project CultLab3D received the Digital Leader Award in the category “innovation”, distinguishing the team for its efforts to develop a mass digitization technology suitable for daily use in the cultural heritage sector and beyond.

The Digital Leader Award recognizes companies and individuals who have significantly contributed to the digital transformation of their organization and society. It is initiated by IDG Business Media and Dimension Data.

Digital Heritage Award 2013
The scanning pipeline CultLab3D was recognized with the “2013 Digital Heritage International Congress and V-MUST.NET” award for the best technical exhibit at the Digital Heritage 2013. At the conference in Marseille, France, the prototype was presented to a large, international audience for the first time.

The Digital Heritage is the biggest event on digital cultural heritage and is organized under the patronage of UNESCO. In 2013, it had more than 6000 visitors.


Pergamon Altar 3D
In September 2014, the Competence Center Cultural Heritage Digitization scanned the Pergamon Altar in Berlin. The 3D scanning project was implemented in cooperation with the Antiquities Collection of the Berlin State Museums (Antikensammlung der Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) and was supported by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, BKM).
The result is an elaborated 3D model of the more than 2000-year-old Hellenistic altar. Now the masterpiece of Ancient Greece is at least accessible online, while the exhibition hall is closed until 2019 due to renovation. Since 2013, the Pergamonmuseum is being modernized as part of the Master plan Museumsinsel. The room with the Pergamon Altar has been closed for works since November 2014.
The Pergamon Altar’s 3D model is available to the public via an online viewer and the entire architectural ensemble can be examined in detail. This virtual representation also offers information on the iconographic program. The 3D model thereby creates access to the currently inaccessible original.

Pergamon Altar © Pergamonmuseum, SMB / 3D model and rendering video: Fraunhofer IGD

M3D – Mobile 3D Acquisition and 3D Print for Industrial Applications
The aim of M3D is to examine the entire process chain from mobile 3D acquisition to 3D print in the industrial field. The vast potential of location-independent mobile devices and the so-called “cloud” is analyzed and technologies be optimized. Using the example of components and workpieces in industrial applications, their potential are dissected conceptually and technologically and tested in form of prototypes.
CultLab3D contributes to the project by developing the mobile acquisition and reconstruction in 3D (WP3) as well as by modelling data for the additive production (WP5).

© M3D


Matevz Domajnko

Matevz Domajnko

Contact for cultural applications

Pedro Santos

Head of Competence Center

pedro.santos (at)
+49 6151 155-472
Visit IGD Profile


Martin Ritz

Contact for industrial applications

Competence Center Cultural Heritage Digitization
Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD
Fraunhoferstrasse 5
64283 Darmstadt