Report Number: CSL-TR-95-667
Institution: Stanford University, Computer Systems Laboratory
Title: Better Optical Triangulation through Spacetime Analysis
Author: Curless, Brian
Author: Levoy, Marc
Date: April 1995
Abstract: The standard methods for extracting range data from optical triangulation scanners are accurate only for planar objects 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.