On April 3, 2008, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (Fraunhofer IOF) in Jena announced the development of the Kolibri Cordless, a shoebox-sized, cordless, 2 lbs image sensor that can take 3-D images. The device is composed of two cameras and a projector in the middle. The two cameras function similarly to the two eyes in the human visual system while the projector in the middle projects a strip pattern to determine geometry deduced from the deformation of the stripes. So what’s so special about the Kolibri Cordless? The combination of stripe projection technology into a small 2 lbs (typical 3D imaging devices weigh 4x – 5x according to the Institute) device that have fast measuring speeds. The Kolibri Cordless is also battery powered.
How did they get it so small? The use of a LED light source is key. Special micro-optics were used to ensure that the light from the LEDs provide illumination in all directions. Compared to halogen lamps, LED light sources can be shrunk to very small sizes and is the key to extremely portable projection devices, called pico-projectors, that are garnering much attention these days. Quite unlike simple pico-projectors, the Kolibri Cordless can be used for many applications that require fast and untethered 3D image capturing.
3D images can be captured in just a few seconds and sent wirelessly to a notebook computer. The Kolibri Cordless can be used for forensic, medical and manufacturing applications. A possible medical application for the device might be generating 3D scans of a patient’s face before a procedure.
The Kolibri Cordless will be showcased at the Control trade fair in Stuttgart, Germany, April 21-25 (Hall 1, Stand 1520).
[tags]3D, Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering, Image Sensor, LED Backlight[/tags]