3-D Glasses for the Robot: 3-D Imaging for Robotic Systems

August 27, 1996

REHOVOT, ISRAEL, August 15, 1996...The trouble with many robots and other automated systems equipped with artificial vision is that their eyes "see" the world as two- dimensional. As a result, they have great difficulty in assessing the relative positions of objects Existing ways for robots to reconstruct 3-D images tend to be slow and cumbersome, but two Weizmann Institute physicists have developed a 3-D imaging technique that greatly speeds up and simplifies this process.

The system Particle Physics Department source and a transparent fluorescent screen placed between the cameras and the object to be filmed. When light is reflected off the object, it strikes the screen and creates a flash that the cameras record along with the image of the object. One camera films continuously, while the other has a shutter that opens for only a billionth of a second at a time, registering just a minute fraction of the light particles emitted b the flashes. Because both the speed of light and the time it takes for the flashes to fade on the screen are known, it is possible to determine the exact distance between the screen and each point on the object's surface. This information, in turn, is combined with data from the 2-D picture of the filmed object to form a 3-D image.

The new 3-D imaging system can be applied in such diverse fields as aerial photography, cartography and surveying. A patent application for the invention has been filed by Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd., the company which deals with the commercialization of Weizmann Institute research.

Dr. Zajfman is the incumbent of the Martha S. Sagon Career Development Chair at the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Rehovot, Israel, one of the world's foremost centers of scientific research and graduate study. Its 2,400 scientists, students, technicians, and engineers pursue basic research in the quest for knowledge and the enhancement of the human condition. New ways of fighting disease and hunger, protecting the environment, and harnessing alternative sources of energy are high priorities.


For press in the U.S., contact: Julie Osler (212) 779-2500
Director of Public Affairs
American Committee for the
Weizmann Institute of Science
(212) 779-2500
JULIE@ACWIS.ORG CompuServe: 76675,366

For foreign press, contact: Luba Vikhanski
Acting Head, Foreign Press and Publications
Weizmann Institute of Science
Rehovot, Israel
011 972 8 934 3855

American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science

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