The idea that you would be able to scan your face—or an object, work of art, or ancient artifact—and then explore and manipulate it through your computer seemed inconceivable just a few years ago. With the new Intel® RealSense™ 3D camera poised to make 3D scanning and printing easier and more accessible for educators than ever before, the learning process is about to take on a new dimension.

1. By Enhancing Hands-On Learning

Educators agree that the more engaged students are, the more information they’re likely to absorb and retain (hence the long-held practice of using flashcards to study). Nothing boosts a student’s engagement like a hands-on activity. By bringing 3D scanning technology into the classroom, students will have the opportunity to directly interact with the things they’re learning about, be it topography, body processes, or engineering. Kids learn through all of their senses, and by 3D printing models for the classroom—of things like molecules, body parts, or artifacts—students can literally hold their subjects in the palms of their hands.

2. By Bringing Science to Life

Teaching students of any age complex scientific concepts can be difficult for both the student and the teacher. 3D scanning can make challenging topics like anatomy and physics easier and more fun by bringing them to life—digital life, that is. 3D scans make it possible for students to study cross-sections of the heart or other organs without having to raise a scalpel. Better still, teachers will be able to illustrate concepts such as gravity or the laws of motion using animations of 3D-scanned objects.

3. By Bringing a New Dimension to Math

Remember how hard high school geometry could be? Geometry will be a breeze when students have 3D scans of objects to measure and explore. Rather than struggling with seemingly obtuse equations and sketches drawn in two dimensions, students will be able to better visualize the volume of the shapes they study.

4. By Encouraging Creativity

Introducing new technology to a classroom and encouraging students to engage in a more active learning style shakes up the daily routine. With the scanning capabilities of the Intel RealSense 3D camera, teachers will be able to challenge students to create physical prototypes of new inventions or designs, then scan and mass-produce the best ideas using 3D printing. By giving real, tangible weight to students’ ideas, educators will be able to boost classroom confidence.

5. By Providing More Opportunities for Artists

Speaking of creativity, practical applications for 3D scanning in the art classroom are boundless. Art students will be able to use a 3D scanner to create digital replicas of their multi-dimensional pieces (sculptures, collages, wearable art) as well as build a digital archive of their work.

6. By Becoming a Virtual Runway

Forget dress forms—fashion students will be able to use 3D scans of their designs to see them in action and make tweaks before fitting them to an actual model. Interior design students will also be able to use 3D scanning technology to make virtual recreations of rooms and furniture in order to optimize their design experiences.

7. By Reconstructing History

Students of archaeology and history across the globe will greatly benefit from 3D scanning, as the new technology will allow them to examine artifacts without visiting a dig site or museum. In addition to providing increased opportunities for archaeology students who will no longer have to travel to receive hands-on education, 3D scanning will also allow students to more closely analyze these often-fragile ancient objects. Taking things one step further, 3D scanning will allow students to rebuild objects by reassembling their broken shards.

8. By Modeling Real Life

3D scanning technology will prove invaluable to architecture and engineering students, who will be able to use the technology to better explore and model the world around them. Architecture students can use a 3D scanner to scale up or down models of their work, as well as to 3D print out models of their blueprints. Similarly, engineering students can use 3D scans to assess the structural integrity of their mechanical designs (of a bridge, for instance) in addition to using the scans for inspection purposes.

Intel RealSense technology (and a 3D printer) will bring features like 3D capture and edit to help students grasp their studies by letting them literally grasp what they’re studying. Learn more here.