May 2, 2017 | By Julia

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF have developed an infrared 3D scanner with a combined precision rate that's powerful like nothing seen before.

You’ve probably encountered infrared 3D scanners in the world of video games. A popular gaming technology for decades, these scanners have typically been used to identify large, noticeable actions, such as a player throwing up their arms while playing virtual volleyball.

The new Fraunhofer IOF innovation, however, has blown the door open on the possible applications for these devices. With a resolution of one million pixels and real-time data processing, this infrared 3D scanner is officially a game-changer.

"The measuring technology works in a similar way to human vision. However, instead of two eyes we are using two near-infrared cameras", explains Stefan Heist from the Fraunhofer IOF.

"In order to detect the object, we project a-periodic patterns onto the surface using a specially developed near-infrared projector."

In other words, a sequence of various patterns gets projected in rapid succession in order to record the maximum amount of measurement points by the two cameras. Within only a few milliseconds, the software is able to calculate the 3D data derived from the recorded images.

The Fraunhofer IOF 3D scanner uses invisible infrared rays to measure surfaces imperceptibly and with incredible accuracy. Due to the high number of measurement points, the scanner is able to create high-res 3D images of 1000 x 1000 pixels, at the astonishing rate of 36 3D images per second. To give you an idea of the level of innovation here, consider the fact that a tube television shows 25 images per second, with each image doubled to mask the annoying flicker.

With the Fraunhofer IOF 3D scanner, however, Images are created continuously without a break, and in premium colour quality thanks to the combined colour camera. The result is the powerful impression of a moving 3D colour image.

"Although there are scanners that are faster, they render 3-D images with a poorer resolution. If, on the other hand, the scanners are more accurate, they tend to be much slower.” explains project lead Dr. Peter Kühmstedt.

“Moreover, most scanners work in the visible range and the projections of the patterns may even interfere or have disturbing glare effects. Our measurement goes on completely unseen.” The novelty of the development, he says, is the finely tuned overall package, which still remains one of the greatest challenges in developing such a device.

Applications for the new 3D scanner are virtually endless, including new possibilities for medical rehabilitation. “Here, our optical system could indicate whether the patient performs exercises correctly or incorrectly," says Kühmstedt.

The team is also hard at work on applications for human-machine interaction. With the Fraunhofer IOF 3D scanner, robots and other autonomous systems would be able to successfully grasp and respond to human facial expressions and gestures. The scanner could also be relevant for security applications and biometrics, since precise characteristics of the body can be identified without irritating projections.

A prototype of the scanner will be showcased at the upcoming Stuttgart Control Trade Fair, running this year from May 9 to 12.



Posted in 3D Scanning



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Andrew wrote at 5/4/2017 12:58:32 PM:

This device uses infrared and coded light technology, and PrimeSense, Kinect, Asus Xtion, etc. are not compared? In fact, they are not even mentioned?!?

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