Versatile 3D Machine Vision Technology

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed a method for the rapid recognition and location of surface shapes in range images. This method can be used for face recognition, munitions identification, and to train robots to 'see.' Unlike other image-based methods, the NRL approach is completely insensitive to variation in lighting or viewpoint and is extremely time-efficient. The patented NRL technique uses 'tripod operators,' which extract sample points from a range image in order to recognize the underlying surface shape. Coupled with a suitable range imaging scanner, such as the patented NRL Correlation Scanner, this technique enables the automation of many tasks previously relegated to human labor. The system has been demonstrated for use in automated assembly for manufacturing and in support of spacecraft docking maneuvers.