Manufacturers often express the performance of a 3D imaging device in various non-uniform ways for the lack of
internationally recognized standard requirements for metrological parameters able to identify the capability of capturing
a real scene. For this reason several national and international organizations in the last ten years have been developing
protocols for verifying such performance.
Ranging from VDI/VDE 2634, published by the Association of German Engineers and oriented to the world of
mechanical 3D measurements (triangulation-based devices), to the ASTM technical committee E57, working also on
laser systems based on direct range detection (TOF, Phase Shift, FM-CW, flash LADAR), this paper shows the state of
the art about the characterization of active range devices, with special emphasis on measurement uncertainty, accuracy
Most of these protocols are based on special objects whose shape and size are certified with a known level of accuracy.
By capturing the 3D shape of such objects with a range device, a comparison between the measured points and the
theoretical shape they should represent is possible. The actual deviations can be directly analyzed or some derived
parameters can be obtained (e.g. angles between planes, distances between barycenters of spheres rigidly connected,
frequency domain parameters, etc.).
This paper shows theoretical aspects and experimental results of some novel characterization methods applied to
different categories of active 3D imaging devices based on both principles of triangulation and direct range detection.