The future of preserving insects: 3-D scanners


June 21, 2018

bug collection

Photo by jonolist on / CC BY-SA

Insect biodiversity has been dropping in recent decades, which causes an issue when documenting the diversity of insects for pest management professionals looking to see how insects evolve to combat common pesticides.

The traditional way of keeping insects by pinning them is far from permanent as the insects decay over a long period of time, as well. These problems may have a resolution, however. German research institutes, TU Darmstadt and Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, have created a new way to preserve and document insects by using 3-D scanners, according to

The Darmstadt Insect Scanner 3-D (DISC3D) has been in development for four years and entered the prototype phase. The process of creating the 3-D image involves placing a pinned insect inside the scanner.  A camera will then slide back and forth taking 25,000 digital photos. The scanner then uses a computer to combine those photos with 400 different special directions to create a digitalized 3-D model of the insect.

This innovation has piqued the interest of museums and research institutions that are looking into replicate the scanner technology.

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