This Section describes the active stereoscopic subsystem which provides the three-dimensional data to our system for automatically inspecting mechanical parts.

NOTE: Whilst this Section considers some specific active stereo problems, many of the other issues discussed are not specific to any particular three-dimensional data acquisition technique, and will be of general interest.

The main components of the Vision System are illustrated by the schematic diagram in Fig. 8.

**Fig. 8 Schematic diagram of vision system**

The vision system consists of:

- a matched pair of high sensitivity CCD cameras,
- a laser scanner all mounted on an optical bench to reduce vibration.

Initially the cameras of the system must be calibrated in order to

- determing the 3D position of them relative to some
world coordinates
- focal length and lens
distortion of the camera (+ lens
*etc.*). - Camera Calibration is described in my book.

Depth maps extracted from the scene by :

- Moving the laser stripe across the scene to
obtain a series of vertical columns of pixels
- Triangulate Pixels
to give the required dense depth map. The depth of a point is
measured as the distance from one of the cameras, chosen as the
*master*camera. - Knowing the relevant geometry and optical properties of the cameras the depth map is constructed using the following method:

**Fig. 9 Measuring a depth value**

- For each vertical stripe of laser light form an image
of the stripe in the pair of frames from each
camera.
- For each row in the master camera image,
search until the stripe is found at point
*P*(*i*,*j*), say. - Form a three-dimensional line
*l*passing through the centre of the master camera and*P*(*i*,*j*). - Construct the epipolar line which is the projection
of the line
*l*into the image formed by the other camera. Do this by projecting two arbitrary points and into the image and constructing a line between the two projected points. - Search along the epipolar line for the laser stripe. If it
is found at , proceed to Step 6.
- Find the point on line
*l*which corresponds to . Calculate the (*x*,*y*,*z*) coordinates of , and store the*z*value at position (*i*,*j*) corresponding to*x*and*y*in the depth map.

The position of the point is easily found by
projecting a line from the centre of
the secondary camera passing through *Q*. The intersection of the
lines *l* and gives the coordinates of .

The depth map is formed by using a world coordinate system fixed on the master camera with its origin at .

**Fig. 10 Depth Map/Image Overlay**