News Column

Patent Application Titled "Method and System for Creating a Three Dimensional Representation of an Object" Published Online

August 28, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventor Pawelski, Paul C. (Griffin, GA), filed on February 6, 2013, was made available online on August 14, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Caterpillar Inc.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Three dimensional modeling of objects typically involve measurement of data points on the surface of the object in all three dimensions. A mechanical measurement method may be employed for this purpose. In one such method, a small probe is lowered in the vertical direction until it makes contact with the surface of the object. X, Y and Z coordinates corresponding to the contact point are recorded. The probe is then raised in the vertical direction and indexed in the horizontal direction. The probe is lowered again and the process is repeated. Although this method provides accurate results, it is not generally preferred for making 3D models due to the slow speed of the process.

"To overcome the speed limitations of the mechanical measurement methods, optical measurement methods may be employed. Several known optical measurement methods for creating a 3D model involve projecting a pattern image on a 3D object and measuring the distortion of the pattern image. One such method uses a projector to project multiple pattern images onto the object. The pattern images are typically either a set of sinusoidal gray scale patterns or a set of black and white patterns. The patterns vary in only one direction so that brightness measurements on a given line perpendicular to the direction of variation are consistent when the pattern image is projected on a constant color plane. A camera records photographs of the object with each of the pattern images projected onto the object. A computer estimates the 3D shape of the object by observing the deviations in brightness perpendicular to the direction of variation of pattern image. However, this method works best with a consistently colored, non-reflective, opaque surface in dim light conditions.

"Thus there is a need for a method and a system for creating a three dimensional model of the object in an improved manner."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "In one aspect, present disclosure provides a method for generating a three dimensional (3D) representation of an object. The method includes projecting a pattern image on the object wherein the pattern image comprises one or more pattern elements. The method further includes capturing an image of the object with the pattern image projected onto the object. The method includes extracting intensity values corresponding to at least two color components of each pixel of the captured image. The method includes generating a probability map for each color component using the corresponding extracted intensity values, wherein the probability map for a color component represents a probability that a pixel of the captured image is representing a part of a pattern element. Further, a joint probability distribution is determined using the probability maps for the color components, the joint probability distribution representing a probability that a pixel of the captured image is representing part of any pattern element. Using the joint probability distribution, specific pattern elements are located in the captured image. Finally, the method includes determining three dimensional coordinates representing points on surface of the object based, at least in part, on the location of the specific pattern elements. A point cloud of three dimensional coordinates representing the surface of the object may be generated.

"In another aspect, the present disclosure provides a system for generating the 3D representation of the object. The system includes a projector, an image capturing module, and a controller. The projector is configured to project a pattern image on the object, the pattern image comprising one or more pattern elements. The image capturing module is configured to capture an image of the object with the pattern image projected onto the object. The controller is coupled to the image capturing module and the projector. The controller through a combination of hardware and software is able to extract intensity values corresponding to at least two color components of each pixel of the captured image, and perform mathematical manipulation on the image data. The mathematical manipulation of the image data may include, but is not limited to, pixel by pixel subtraction of the intensity values of color components in one image from the corresponding data in another image, probabilistic calculations to determine the likelihood that a given pixel of the captured image is representing part of a pattern element, probabilistic pattern recognition on clusters of pixels to determine the likelihood that the pixels recorded a particular part of the pattern element, and comparison of the combined probabilistic results to a lookup table or formula to determine the most likely three dimensional location of the portion of the object that reflected the part of the pattern element.

"Other features and aspects of this disclosure will be apparent from the following description and the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary environment having a controller for generating a three dimensional (3D) representation of an object, and including image planes AA and BB, according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 2 illustrates a projected pattern image and a captured image in one possible embodiment;

"FIG. 3 illustrates how elements of a projected pattern image may change position in the captured image in one possible embodiment; and

"FIG. 4a and FIG. 4b illustrates a flowchart of a process for generating the 3D representation of the object."

For more information, see this patent application: Pawelski, Paul C. Method and System for Creating a Three Dimensional Representation of an Object. Filed February 6, 2013 and posted August 14, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5149&p=103&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140807.PD.&OS=PD/20140807&RS=PD/20140807

Keywords for this news article include: Caterpillar Inc.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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