Advantages of structured light lasers for 3-D imaging

Structured light lasers can be useful for 3-D imaging in applications where the environment is unchanged and they have a strong measurement coverage area.

By AIA October 27, 2017

Structured light lasers for scanning in 3-D imaging often provides a number of advantages for inspection and industrial applications. But how do structured light lasers work? And what kinds of advantages do they offer?

Structured light lasers work by using diffractive optical elements (DOEs). Essentially, a known shape or pattern is projected onto an object or scene and a sequence of images is taken. The deformation of the shape or pattern in the image is measured to determine the dimensions and movement of the object or scene.

A number of patterns can be used to achieve the same results. Single and multi-circle DOEs are used in 3-D mapping applications, especially for pipe and tube objects. Single and multi-line DOEs are useful for scanning applications, and multi-spot DOEs are best for tracking volume or movement.

Advantages of structured light lasers for 3-D imaging

There are a few advantages of structured light lasers for 3-D imaging. First, as long as the imaging environment is unchanged—where there’s either no movement or consistent movement, and ambient light is minimized—structured light lasers can produce accurate results. Resolution is typically high and the images captured can reliably determine the dimensions of the object.

Structured light lasers are often fast, too. 3-D imaging can occur practically as fast as an image can be taken. Complex algorithms quickly determine the dimensions of the object, speeding up inspection processes and creating production efficiencies.

Also, structured light laser imaging systems have a better measurement coverage area than other 3-D imaging techniques, as long as distance is fixed. This is particularly useful for larger parts that need multiple scans, further saving time and creating efficiencies in production.

Structured light lasers for 3-D imaging create many advantages, particularly for industrial inspection applications. There are several types of 3-D imaging available to those in the industrial sector, but structured light lasers are often an advantageous 3-D imaging technique.

This article originally appeared on the AIA website. The AIA is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). A3 is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control

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