In this work we demonstrate a highly flexible laser imaging system for 3D sensing applications such as in tracking of VR/AR headsets, hands and gestures. The system uses a MEMS mirror scan module to transmit low power laser pulses over programmable areas within a field of view and uses a single photodiode to measure the reflected light. User can arbitrarily select the number of pixels to scan over an area and can thus obtain images of target objects at arbitrarily fast rates. The work builds on the previously presented “MEMSEye” laser tracking technology which uses a fast steering MEMS scan module with a modulated laser, and a tuned photosensor to acquire and track a retroreflector-marked object. To track VR/AR headsets, hands and similar objects with multiple markers or no markers at all, a single-point tracking methodology is not sufficient. Cameras could be more appropriate in such multi-point imaging cases but suffer from low frame rates, dependence on ambient lighting, and relatively low resolution when without zooming and panning capability. A hybrid method can address the problem by providing a system with its own light source (laser beam), and with full programmability of the pixel locations and scans such that frame rates of >100 Hz are possible over specific areas of interest. With a modest 1 Mpixel rate of measurement, scanning a sub-region of the field of view with 64 x 64 pixels results in ~200Hz update. Multiple such modules can be used to scan and image or track objects with multiple markers and fully obtain their position and attitude in a room with sub-5ms updates. Furthermore the room itself could be imaged and measured with wall markers or in conjunction with a camera for a total 3D scanning solution. Proof of concept demonstrator is presented here with pixel rates of only 30k-50k per second due to limitations of the present prototype electronics, resulting in refresh rates that are significantly lower than possible with the MEMS mirror scan modules.
Veljko Milanović, Abhishek Kasturi, James Yang, and Frank Hu, "A fast single-pixel laser imager for VR/AR headset tracking," Proc. SPIE 10116, MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems XVI, 101160E (Presented at SPIE OPTO: February 01, 2017; Published: 20 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253425.
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