Fraunhofer’s Laser Scans From 30m

A 3D laser scanner, based on the human eye, has been developed by three different Fraunhofer Institutes. The system can focus on key sections of an image and capture them with a high resolution. It delivers ‘high-quality’ 3D information in real-time, over distances of up to 30m. A MEMS scanning technology is the key hardware component in the new scanner.

Fraunhofer developed the scanner to identify ‘security-relevant’ objects over significant distances, where there are different light effects. It is able to operate independently of ambient light.

The system was created by combining pulse run time laser distance measurement with an adaptive operating micro reflector component (MEMS). Because the component is adaptive, it can be adjusted to the area of interest, like the human eye’s fovea. Software algorithms analyse a ‘quickly-recorded’ 3D overview image; the scanner is then directed to interesting image sections. These sections can be scanned at a high resolution. According to Fraunhofer, [t]his is the first time that situation-based high-quality 3D information can be obtained within such a short time period’. The system has a scanning speed of 1.6kHz.

A time-modulated transmission beam is directed over an object to be measured by the reflector mechanism. The beam’s light that is dispersed over that area is shown on a photo-detector with a high bandwidth, using several receiving reflectors that move synchronously to the beam. The distance of the object is determined using the measured phase (pulse run) time of the light that is received.

22 receiving reflectors were used to increase the visual fill factor, with individual apertures of 8.4mm