This paper introduces a new technology of non-contact 3D fingerprint capture and processing for higher quality fingerprint data acquisition. The system relies on a real-time 3D sensor using structured light illumination (SLI), which generates both texture and detailed ridge depth information. The high resolution 3D scans are then converted into flat equivalent images. As a result, many limitations imposed upon conventional fingerprint capture and processing can be reduced by the unobtrusiveness of this approach and the extra depth information acquired. The image quality is evaluated and analyzed using NIST fingerprint image software. A comparison is performed between the unraveled 3D fingerprints and their 2D plain counterparts in terms of fingerprint quality.