A high speed scanning system designed for three-dimensional robot vision is presented, which consists of a very compact sensor-head and a separate signal processing unit. Using the light- section method the sensor is two-dimensional without any moving parts. The third dimension can be achieved by moving the robot hand. The sensor-head contains: (1) the CCD-array (IA- D1 Turbosensor with 256 X 256 elements, Dalsa Inc., CDN), (2) the camera electronics and optics, (3) the laser source (0.5 - 20 mW, 780 nm CW), and (4) the light-plane optics (Schafter & Kirchhoff, Hamburg, Germany). The assembly of these elements in a single box provides a robust sensor system. Considering to the so-called Scheimpflug-condition some a priori information about the system can easily by described and used for two different criteria for the separation of unwanted interferences. As a result signal processing is facilitated and on-line signal processing even for very high data rates is possible. The signal processing unit contains: (1) a special custom circuit for analogue and digital on-line preprocessing, (2) a TMS 320 C 30 dsp-card, (3) several interfaces for high speed data transfer, and (4) the power supply. Since the signal processing unit may be displaced up to 1.5 m away from the compact sensor-head, the system is well suited for robot vision purposes. The system provides high accuracy (approximately equals 0.4%), high speed (up to 250 full frames per second) and on-line signal processing.