Better optical triangulation through spacetime analysis

Brian Curless and Marc Levoy
Proc. ICCV '95.


Optical triangulation range scanners are finding wide usage in industrial inspection, metrology, medicine, and computer graphics. The standard methods for extracting range data from structured light reflecting off of an object are accurate only for planar surfaces of uniform reflectance illuminated by an incoherent source. Using these methods, curved surfaces, discontinuous surfaces, and surfaces of varying reflectance cause systematic distortions of the range data. Coherent light sources such as lasers introduce speckle artifacts that further degrade the data. We present a new ranging method based on analyzing the time evolution of the structured light reflections. Using our spacetime analysis, we can correct for each of these artifacts, thereby attaining significantly higher accuracy using existing technology. We present results that demonstrate the validity of our method using a commercial laser stripe triangulation scanner.

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Last update: 25 January 1995