Better Performance in 3D

Manufacturers and users of laser scanners used in 3D imaging will benefit from a new ASTM standard that helps evaluate their measurement performance. Specifically, the standard will help evaluate time-of-flight imaging systems, which determine measurements by detecting the reflected light from a scene illuminated by a modulated light source. The new standard is E2938, Test Method for Evaluating the Relative-Range Measurement Performance of 3D Imaging Systems in the Medium Range.

3D imaging systems are used to rapidly capture information of a scene or object through "point clouds," or groupings of points, which may include associated color and intensity. This data helps with manufacturing airplanes, cars, roads, bridges and digital terrain maps. In addition, this technology is increasingly used in historic preservation of sites and monuments. These scanners also advance innovation in areas such as sensors for driverless vehicles, vehicle collision detection systems and advanced robotic material-handling systems.

Manufacturers can use the standard to specify the relative range error of their instrument at one or more ranges. Meanwhile, buyers and other users will be able to compare different instruments, verify manufacturers' relative range-error specifications or specify requirements when buying a system.

"The standard was intentionally developed to be flexible enough to allow a user to evaluate a system over a series of ranges and/or for various surface properties to gain a fuller understanding of the system's relative range performance," says ASTM member Kamel S. Saidi, Ph.D. "This flexibility is important due to the countless combinations of distances and surface properties that laser scanners can encounter in the field."

ASTM Committee E57 on 3D Imaging Systems, which developed the new standard, welcomes all interested parties to join in its activities.

"We are seeking participants who are knowledgeable in any and all aspects of laser scanner technology, from best field practices to point-cloud data-processing algorithms," says Saidi, a mechanical engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. "We are also seeking those who are interested in developing standards for other types of 3D imaging systems, such as triangulation-based, short-range laser scanners and multiple-pixel-array ranging cameras."

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CONTACT Technical Information: Kamel S. Saidi, Ph.D., National Institute of Standards and Technology • Gaithersburg, Md. • tel +1.301.975.6069 | ASTM Staff: Pat Picariello • Phone: 610-832-9720

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