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This article is about the Scanner in Subnautica. Click here for information on this subject in Below Zero.
This article is about the Scanner. You may be looking for the Scanner Room (Subnautica).


The scanner can be used to synthesize blueprints from salvaged technology, and to record alien biological data.

― PDA, Dialogue


The Scanner is a tool capable of scanning Fragments, lifeforms, technology, flora, the Player's body, and other objects scattered around the map, which get added to the Databank. Fragments are scanned to acquire Blueprints; to acquire the blueprints of a particular item, the player must scan its corresponding fragments, the number of which varies based on the object. If a fragment is scanned but the player has already acquired the blueprints for said fragment, then the fragment will become 2 pieces of titanium and automatically be put into the player's storage.

The Scanner has a range of five meters. If the player equips a Scanner and points the crosshair at a scannable object in range, a white circle (a progress indicator) appears in the middle of the screen. If the Scanner is not held in the player’s hand and the player has not yet scanned the object, a small Scanner icon will appear in the bottom right of the screen to inform the player.

With a Scanner equipped, the player can hold the correct button to scan their target. It takes about ten seconds to finish scanning, depending on the size of the object. If scanning is interrupted (which can happen if the player looks away or the target moves out of range, for instance), the player can resume scanning later with no loss of progress.

Fauna do not have to alive to be scanned. The player is free to kill aggressive animals before scanning them if they wish.

Spoiler alert: The following section contains story related material.

The Scanner display will show "NORMAL" if the creature is not infected or "INFECTED" if it is, for approximately 4 seconds each time a scan is made.

The player can scan their own body by holding the appropriate key The Scanner will display whether the player is infected or not and, if the player is infected, will show the progress of the infection in the player's body. See the player page for more details.

The Scanner requires a Battery to operate, and will be unusable if its battery is depleted.


Action Mouse & Keyboard Xbox One PlayStation 4 Nintendo Switch
Scan (Press and Hold)
XBOX Right Trigger PS4 R2.png SwitchZr.png
Self-Scan (Press and Hold)
XBOX D-Pad Up PS4 Dpad Up.png SwitchUpbutton.png
Change Battery
XBOX X Combops4sq.png SwitchY.png


Battery.pngTitanium.pngArrow-right (1).pngFabricator.pngArrow-right (1).pngScanner.png

Scannable Entities

Alien Life Forms

Other Entities

Raw Materials



Data Bank Entry


The essential science and survival tool, the scanner can be used to add new blueprints to memory, and analyze unknown entities.

It emits electromagnetic radiation in the specified direction, which is reflected by the environment and then analyzed to determine the physical make-up of the targeted object. It has four primary functions.

Blueprint Acquisition:
Record the physical parameters of scanned technologies to add their blueprints to the PDA databank. These blueprints may then be constructed at the appropriate fabricator. The scanner is also equipped to break down damaged and otherwise useless devices into their base metals for salvage purposes.

Organism Analysis:
The scanner will attempt to match scanned organisms against the onboard database. If no match is found then the species will be assigned an easy-to-remember name, and a new databank entry will be created. Your PDA's AI will also attempt to synthesize theories on behavioural tendencies and evolutionary origins where possible, as well as deliver assessments on how best to approach them.

Medical Analysis:
Scanning any living organism will display basic information on their state of health on the scanner's HUD. This information will be limited without access to a network database.

The user may run a self-scan to determine their own physical well-being. The scanner will search for foreign bacteria and other signs of ill-health, and compare with available data to provide a diagnosis.

'The Alterra Spectroscope Scanner - Understanding the world so you don't have to.'