A new miniaturized camera system that is capable of 3-dimensional imaging in real-time is presented. The compact imaging device is able to entirely capture its environment in all three spatial dimensions. It reliably and simultaneously delivers intensity data as well as range information on the objects and persons in the scene. The depth measurement is based on the time-of-flight (TOF) principle. A custom solid-state image sensor allows the parallel measurement of the
phase, offset and amplitude of a radio frequency (RF) modulated light field that is emitted by the system and reflected back by the camera surroundings without requiring any mechanical scanning parts. In this paper, the theoretical background of the implemented TOF principle is presented, together with the technological requirements and detailed
practical implementation issues of such a distance measuring system. Furthermore, the schematic overview of the complete 3D-camera system is provided. The experimental test results are presented and discussed. The present camera system can achieve sub-centimeter depth resolution for a wide range of operating conditions. A miniaturized version of such a 3D-solid-state camera, the SwissRanger 2 , is presented as an example, illustrating the possibility of
manufacturing compact, robust and cost effective ranging camera products for 3D imaging in real-time.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.