A Noncontact Optical Proximity Sensor for Measuring Surface Shape
We have developed a noncontact multi-light source optical proximity sensor that can measure the distance, orientation, and curvature of a surface. Beams of light are sequentially focused from light emitting diodes onto a target surface. An analog light sensor - a planar PIN diode - localizes the position of the resultant light spot in the field of view of the sensor. The 3-D locations of the light spots are then computed by triangulation. The distance, orientation, and curvature of the target surface is computed by fitting a surface to a set of data points on the surface.
The proximity sensor that has been built uses 18 light sources arranged in 5 conical rings. The sensor has a range of 10 cm where it can measure the distance of approximately 200 discrete points per second with a precision of 0.1mm, and then compute surface orientation with a precision of l.0°. This sensor may be used by a robotic manipulator to home in on an object and to trace the object’s surface.
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