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Building Solutions with Multiple 3D Sensors
Chiaro Technologies Posted 03/17/2016
By: Ronald Zimmerman, Director of Business Development
Many 3D machine vision applications require merging point cloud data from multiple sensors into a single 3D data set. To merge point cloud data successfully, one must accurately determine the coordinate transformations between each pair of sensors as they are mounted in the overall system. This can be a daunting problem, especially for sensors such as laser line scanners or displacement sensors that have very limited depth of field and field of view. The Cloudburst 3D camera offers several features to make calibrating coordinate transformations and merging point clouds much, much simpler.
Available in 50° and 90° field of view configurations, Cloudburst provides full-frame depth measurements captured with a single camera exposure. The depth measurement range extends from as close as 25cm to as far as 2.5m. The combination of wide field of view with extended measurement range simplifies the design and assembly of multi-sensor systems with overlapping fields of view. By building in overlapping fields of view, the coordinate transformation for each pair of sensors can be measured to provide accurate point cloud merging.
Each Cloudburst sensor goes through a rigorous 3-step factory calibration procedure to ensure accurate and repeatable 3D measurements every time. There is no need to perform any lens adjustments or alignment tweaks. Each Cloudburst camera provides 3D measurements in real-world coordinates out of the box. No finicky scaling or warping is needed to produce precisely merged point clouds. Software or hardware triggering Cloudburst's integrated Symbolic Light illumination source is precisely synchronized with the camera exposure time, so it illuminates the scene only when necessary for capturing a 3D frame. Synchronized illumination, combined with a choice between software or hardware triggering of the camera exposure, makes interleaving acquisitions from multiple sensors a snap. Exposures happen with little lag and unlike many other 3D sensors, especially consumer-targeted devices, Cloudburst won't pollute your scene with unwanted infrared light when not actively acquiring a frame.
Low cost of ownership
Since many manufacturing and automation solutions demand not just one, but many sensors, each working in concert, costs for complete solutions can increase quickly. Each Cloudburst camera isn’t only easier to align with the others, it’s also much less expensive than many competitors’ cameras. The savings is multiplied by the number of required sensors.
If your application can benefit from merged data from multiple 3D cameras, inquire about the upcoming new Windsock™ software application from Chiaro Technologies, which fully automates the task of calibrating coordinate transformations among Cloudburst sensors with overlapping fields of view. Factory calibration, wide field of view, long depth range, and soft- or hardware triggering all add up to make implementation as straightforward as possible. Lower per-sensor cost compared to many industry solutions multiplies savings for bigger installations.