Updated: Jun 23, 2022
Depth-sensing technology and robotics depth capture have achieved major importance in businesses across many different fields.
Essentially, 3D depth-sensing technology allows machines and devices to sense their surroundings via process optimization, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and automation. Depth-sensing applications include a wide variety of physical and technological methods for generating depth information for different industrial environments.
In order to choose a proper 3D depth sensing solution for your business, it is important to get familiar with the potential of 3D technology for modern business along with its up-to-date capturing methods, applications, and ways to implement the technology.
In this article, you will find the answers to your fundamental questions about depth-sensing technology, a comparison of its most common types, and tips on assessing which method is the right one for your brand’s needs.
Structured Light Depth-Sensing Technology: The Power of Robotic Depth Capture
The structured light depth-sensing system functions via a common light pattern. This pattern gets projected onto a scene or object and is recorded by at least one depth-sensing camera. This projection process involves stripes, dots, color-coded patterns, and time-coded patterns.
The cameras are placed at standard angles for the projector and are combined in a single device so that it can pick up the distorted pattern. The system then calculates the difference between the projected pattern and the distorted one perceived by the camera.
This way, robotics depth capture can reconstruct the scene depth and present it in the form of a depth map.
The structured light method can fail in situations involving long ranges, transparent objects, and highly reflective surfaces. Another factor that affects depth reconstruction is multiple cameras covering a scene with intersecting fields of view or external light sources operating in the same wavelength that causes interferences in projected patterns.
Structured light-sensing technology offers high levels of accuracy in short ranges, and it usually comes with more affordable costs than other robotics depth capture technologies.
Time of Flight Depth Sensors
Time of Flight, also known as ToF, denotes the computer vision system that measures the time of light traveling a particular distance. With the speed of light noted, the system can easily calculate the distance between the emitter and the receiver - all parts of a single device - due to the required time being proportional to the distance.
Similar to structured light, depth-sensing cameras that employ the ToF principles are prone to external effects of cameras or other light sources with the same wavelength. With multi-camera setups, their synchronization can resolve this issue. Essentially, ToF systems offer high accuracy, the ability to restore depth information from surfaces with minimal textures, and independence from external light sources.
This process usually involves a laser in the infrared spectrum or LED that emits the light. There are several possible variations of the Time of Flight cameras, with the most common being direct and indirect ToF systems.
Direct and Indirect ToF
Direct ToF (dToF) is the emission of a single pulse and approximation of the distance according to the time difference between the emitted pulse and its reflection.
On the other hand, indirect ToF (iToF) bases its function on a continuous coded light stream.
The system then calculates the distance by estimating the difference between emitted and received reflected light. While direct ToF is mostly used with scanning-based LiDARs, indirect ToF is commonly used as the main principle in flash-based cameras.
Compared to direct ToF, iToF brings you higher accuracy without needing the meticulous sampling rates of the laser light pulse. Therefore, it enables higher resolution captures and field of view with high frame rates at budget-friendly prices.
In general, flash-based ToF cameras function with modulated light and classic image sensor arrays that allow complete illumination of the whole visible scene. Only one shot is enough for constructing the depth-sensing scene.
This way, you can establish an optimal operating range for short and medium distances with the maximum range depending on the power of the light source. These cameras are an excellent solution for a lot of applications, including package weighing and dimensioning in logistics, due to their high frame rates and affordable costs.
Stereo Vision Depth Estimation
The main aim of stereo vision depth-sensing technology is to mimic human vision. This kind of technology perceives measurable depth perception by recording objects with two cameras set on a shared baseline with a specific distance between their lens centers. This enables every camera to capture the scene from its own unique angle.
The proximity of the camera to the object determines the quality of the images—when the object is closer, more of its features can be shifted in the two images. The disparity value between these two images determines what the depth map will look like.
Active stereo vision systems involve a light source that projects random patterns on the visible scene, whereas passive systems employ ambient or artificial lighting to illuminate the object.
Which System Works Best?
Infrared laser projectors with pseudo-random patterns are most commonly used, while structured light is also a recommended option. However, active stereo vision technology stands out with its robustness and the flexible lighting conditions it offers with an easy-to-use multi-camera setup.
The prices of stereo depth cameras depend on their range and level of accuracy. The prime choice for your business is Depth Camera G53 from eCapture.
Choose Depth Camera G53 for Your Business
eCapture’s G53 model is one of the smallest and most flexible depth camera solutions on the market. It comes at a reasonable price of $79, plus extra shipping costs, customs fees, and handling charges depending on your location.
The Depth Camera G53 is a stereo depth camera that offers a 50-degree field of view for object tracking and robotics depth capture. More specifically, this camera employs active IR stereo technology with a global shutter option.
eCapture’s G53 includes a built-in USB cable, a user-friendly start guide, and a precautionary notice. Its application works with drones, robots, object tracking technology, obstacle avoidance, and AGV/AMR.
You can also explore the eYs3D website to find more top-quality products that meet your depth-sensing technology needs.