Measuring a room, a house, a factory, a statue or anything

Nov 16 2011

Here comes an idea I have had for 20 years or more.

Create a wand with a laser distance meter.  The update rate must be quite high.

Have a device to put somewhere.  This device knows the position and orientation of the wand.  The wand sends data to the device.

As long as we keep the measuring fast we can “paint” the surroundings and store the data.  We can then do some smart calculations and figure out what the room/object looks like.

If we want to measure more than the distance between the wand and the device allows we can set the device in “moving mode” after putting the wand down; move the device, and then set the device in “measuring mode” again.  This way we can move the measuring through a whole multi floor factory or from a building to another.

If we have computer power enough, we can do it all real time.  It would be super to be able to see how one paints the objects to see if there are any forgotten areas.

There should be a way to help the computer calculate the data (afterwards).  One can give it hints about what is a corner and what is a pipe.  Or a nose on a statue.

Another solution which probably requires more computing power, is to do it with a (film-)camera.  Or a stereo camera to make the calculations easier.  Hold the camera in your hands, on a pole, on a vehicle or in a ball to through around.
Does the Microsoft Kinect solve this problem? It measures a room alright but at a high enough definition? At least it can be used as a proof of concept.

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