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Arts, Sports & Culture

Laser Scan of Frank Lloyd Wright Synagogue Will Lead to Virtual Tours


Legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic Beth Sholom synagogue outside Philadelphia just had a laser treatment.

This laser won't do anything for your wrinkles. It's a valuable tool for buildings to create three-dimensional maps for historic documentation and preservation.

Three backpack-sized scanners mounted on heavy-duty tripods went to work inside and outside the landmark Elkins Park temple for several days this month.

The scanners slowly rotate 360 degrees while shooting out green pulses of light 50,000 times a second. Each light beam transmits a line of corresponding points to a laptop; row by row, the image takes shape.

The project leaders said the 3-D blueprints could be used to repair or recreate a damaged structure and will eventually be posted online for anyone to take a virtual tour.