The assignee for this patent, patent number 8638451, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Methods and systems for capturing coordinates of points--or locations--of real-world surfaces for input into computer-aided design (CAD) software are in widespread use. The points may be on a two-dimensional (2D) surface or on the exterior of a three-dimensional (3D) object. The process of inputting coordinates of points of a 2D medium or a 3D object into a computer memory is commonly called digitizing. For example, a digitizing tablet may be used to input XY coordinates of sampled points on a 2D image--such as a photograph, blueprint, or pencil-sketched drawing--in order to build a CAD or other computer graphics representation of the salient geometric features of the image.
"Similarly, a 'cloud of points' may be sampled from the 3D surface of a physical object to build a data representation (or model) of the geometry of the physical object in a computer memory. Each sampled point may be represented by an XYZ coordinate triple. In a more sophisticated representation, the cloud of points may be converted into vertices of abutting planar polygonal patches which approximate the surface of the object. In a more sophisticated representation, the cloud of points may be converted into abutting curved polygonal patches. Each patch, whether planar or curved, may be defined by a mathematical bivariate polynomial or rational function--such as in the NURBS surfaces commonly used in computer graphics. In special cases, 3D data entry may rely on real-world measurements where the generic geometric shape (e.g., circle, sphere, cube, cylinder, etc.) of a real-world object is known, but the dimensions of the shape must be determined by physically measuring the coordinates of one or more points to quantify the shape.
"Numerous approaches exist for measuring real-world surface points. For planar media, various 2D digitizing tablets are commercially available which are commonly used in computer-aided drafting and design. The two most common input devices are a hand-held pen-like stylus with a pointing tip, and a manually moveable cursor--also called a puck. The movable cursor may have a reticle scribed into a transparent plate which can be moved over the surface of the tablet or a planar medium on the tablet. A common form of a reticle is pair of crosshairs. The reticle may include an indicator, such as an arrow tip or the intersection of the crosshairs, which indicates the particular surface point to be measured by the moveable cursor.
"A probe may be used to input of points on the surface of a 3D object. Such a probe may have a pointer, tip, or other indicator for indicating an individual location on the object. The indicator may be a sharp conical pointer, a spherical tip of known radius, a grooved tip for tracing edges, or a roller of known radius.
"Generally, the location of the indicator on the probe, cursor, or puck is measured in two or three dimensions by a coordinate measuring system, referred to herein as a tracker. The tracker may not track the indicator directly, but instead track sensible markers spaced apart from the indicator. In many cases, placing a sensible marker exactly at the location of the indicator would be problematic, because the size or the opacity of the marker may obscure the indicator from view. This problem may be avoided by tracking two or more markers positioned with a known geometrical relationship with respect to the indicator, so the location of the indicator may be computed from the locations of the markers."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The various embodiments provide methods and systems for measuring a 2D or 3D location in a coordinate system using only one marker on a probe. The probe contains an indicator to designate the location of a specific point on a 2D surface or in a 3D volume for the measurement of the location. A single trackable marker on the probe effectively has the same location as the indicator without blocking a user's view of the indicator. An embodiment measures the location of the marker with a tracker, which may report the location as 2D or 3D coordinates in a coordinate system.
"An embodiment is configured so that the indicator lies at a known offset and at a constrained direction from the marker. An embodiment for a planar or 2D application positions the marker and the indicator on the same line normal (perpendicular) to the surface. An embodiment for 3D applications uses the known offset and direction of the marker to compute the location of the indicator in the plane of the medium.
"Another embodiment virtually collocates a probe's marker and indicator by using a mirror--or an equivalent reflecting surface for a sonic marker. In this embodiment, the indicator and the marker lie on opposite sides of the mirror's reflecting surface at equal distances from the reflecting surface and on a line perpendicular to the reflecting surface. This configuration causes the location of a virtual image of the marker to coincide with the location of the indicator. In alternative embodiments, the mirror may be planar or non-planar.
"A portion of the probe including the marker and the mirror may be hinged or moveable as long as the image of the marker continues to coincide with the indicator."
For more information, see this patent: Melkis, Juris G; Faul, Ivan; Toms, Dennis. System for Determining a Location on a 2D Surface Or in a 3D Volume. U.S. Patent Number 8638451, filed
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