Glass360Dgree tech heats transparent objects to gauge their shape
Robots and other automated systems have always had trouble visually gauging the 3D shape of transparent objects, like those made of glass. A new system addresses that problem, by using a laser to quickly heat such items.
Developed at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering, the Glass360Dgree system incorporates a high-energy CO2 infrared laser, along with two highly-sensitive thermal imaging cameras.
Within "fractions of a second," a projected line of laser light is moved across the entire surface of the object, slightly heating it. There's no risk of the item melting or burning, as it's only heated by a total of 3 ºC (5 ºF).
Although the absorbed thermal energy only remains in the glass or other material for a short time, that's still long enough for the two cameras to image the variations in the object's heat signature, from two angles simultaneously. That data is analyzed by a computer system, which is then able to ascertain the object's three-dimensional shape and size.
Along with transparent materials, the technology can also be used to image difficult-to-scan substances such as those that are highly reflective, or that are solid black.
Glass360Dgree will be presented to a specialist audience from May 30th to June 2nd at the Hannover Messe industrial trade show.