Advantages of Stereo Vision Cameras
Updated: Aug 12, 2022
Well into the third decade of the 21st century, we can safely claim that cameras are part and parcel of our day-to-day life. This includes professional cameras used by photographers and filmmakers, phone cameras used by everybody else to capture everyday moments, security cameras and tracking cameras to keep people and property safe, and telescope and microscope cameras. The list goes on.
A camera’s main job is to function properly. It should be accurate with the subject you want to focus on, provide sharp results and if used for filming videos or movies, deliver natural-looking motion. In most cases, technology has advanced enough to give us this. But there is always room for improvement.
One of that improvement comes in the shape of stereo vision cameras — these are specialized devices that can offer a stereo depth camera solution to empower wild range of Machine Vision technologies.
What Is a Stereo Vision Camera?
In simple terms, a stereo vision camera is a camera with at least two separate imaging modules, each of them using its own lens and image sensor. This automatically open-up endless possibilities for the imaging applications.
The principal idea behind this camera type is to simulate the effect of human vision — using two separate sets of camera imaging module as if a pair of our eyes. There are multiple benefits to this kind of camera setup, such as more reliable data acquisition, better way to enhance image quality, more accurate motion capture, and enable depth perception.
Stereo cameras are nothing new. In fact, the first ones date back to the 1890s. And ever since the 1950s, stereo vision cameras have been used for various purposes, like creating stereo slides, panoramic or 360 view. Because of technology, however, stereo cameras continue to evolve.
Perhaps the most famous ‘invention’ associated with stereo vision cameras is 3D vision technology. It overlays the view of the two parallax images to create an illusion of depth. Now, when we think of 3D technology, what mainly comes to mind are wearing a pair of polarized glasses to watch 3D movie in the theatres. But nowadays, stereo 3D vision technology play a key role in machine vision arena and extended to a no boundary domain when it collaborate with Artificial Intelligence (AI).
When speaking of stereo vision cameras today, and speculating about what other types of cameras they can be compared with, here are the main competitors:
Stereo Vision Camera vs Single Cameras
The first thing that comes to mind is single cameras. In fact, most cameras out there are single cameras. Don’t get it wrong; single cameras are exceptional devices. However, the question here is not whether stereo cameras are superior to single cameras, but whether they have the potential to perform better.
The answer here is, yes, stereo vision cameras are of higher performance than single cameras. Unlike stereo vision cameras, single cameras only have one lens to rely on. If anything obstructs a single camera vision or is at fault, there will be no other lens to back up its performance. A single-lens camera can also only capture so much — it only presents its object from a single vantage point and offers a limited view field.
Another difference between the two is that stereo cameras capture greater volumes of data and so, they produce fewer occlusions and provide complementary spectrum of data. Compared to this, single cameras are unable to capture data with the surface occlusion blocking by the front scene objects. Stereo vision cameras, where the two imaging modules work simultaneously, rely on dual views to gather data: by pixel triangulation of the left and right image data.
Main Benefits of Stereo Vision Cameras
When it comes to choosing a solid stereo depth camera solution, we cannot help but look at the benefits of using one. Read on as we lay out the 5 top perks of stereo vision cameras.
Wider Field of View
Since it has two lenses and two sensors, a stereo vision camera essentially captures a much wider field of view. This makes the camera able to observe the object from two different angles and get a better view of the object’s surroundings. Given this, the results that stereo cameras deliver are up to two times more effective than those of single cameras.
In case one of the two imaging modules has an obscured vision of the object, or when one of them cannot capture the subject for whatever reason, the other lens can take over and compensate. It will, therefore, deliver a fuller result with fewer omissions. It also captures a more comprehensive overall image of both the object and its surroundings.