A Prototype Optical Tracking System: Investigation and Development
Thesis DisciplineElectrical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Engineering
Tracking of an object in six degrees-of-freedom (DOF) produces a position and orientation estimate of the object as it moves in 3D space. This thesis investigates the design and implementation of a prototype optical 6 DOF tracking system. Although optical scanners potentially have issues regarding occlusion they have advantages over electromagnetic scanners in that they can be used without distortion near ferromagnetic materials and can have large working volumes.
This thesis focuses on the design of a small camera module named the ‘Black Spot’ that forms part of the overall tracking system. This module is capable of tracking the locations of up to 27 LED markers at 60 frames/s as the module moves in space. These markers provide fixed reference points that are utilised by the tracking system. A number of these modules will, in future revisions of the system, be clustered closely together forming a tracking hub. In this research this hub has been partially implemented in software on a PC. This software implements a ‘pose estimation’ algorithm that iteratively refines the location and position of the camera modules.
Results from testing three Black Spot modules indicates that the locations of the LED markers can be determined very precisely using a centroid calculation. Standard deviations of better than 0.01 pixels have been recorded using these modules. The pose estimation algorithm has been tested revealing the need for a better minimisation algorithm. It is recommended that a bundle adjustment algorithm is used in the future to refine the world model used by the hub. The calibration of the system is a task for future research.