Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Smart Imaging System Could Drive Robots

Smart Imaging System Could Drive Robots

A high precision imaging system that could eventually allow robots and other electronic devices to measure distance and generate 3D images has proved a winner for its developer in this year’s MacDiarmid Young Scientists of the Year Awards.

Andrew Payne, a 28-year-old PhD student at the University of Waikato, has been named runner-up in the Future Science and Technology category of the Awards, which is sponsored by Industrial Research Limited. The MacDiarmid Awards are presented by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, with Fisher & Paykel Appliances as principal sponsor.

Most existing 3D imaging systems are relatively slow and measure one spot at a time but Andrew has developed a technique known as Full-Field Time of Flight which simultaneously measures multiple points with very high accuracy.

The system lights up the entire area like a spotlight, and measures the minute differences in the time the light takes to travel to each object and reflect back to a camera. A computer then generates a 3D image.

Light travels at 300,000 kilometres per second, so Andrew says measuring the return time of the reflected light requires the use of complex techniques and very high speed electronics.

The technology has a wide range of potential applications where non-human devices can be used to determine distance, shape and movement. This includes incorporating the camera into a robot which could see its surroundings in 3D and be able to easily move around our homes and interact with us. Other potential applications are in automation for industry, special effects in move making, sorting and grading fruit, and medical devices.

Andrew has recently submitted his PhD thesis and is now embarking on a three-year post doctoral position at Waikato University to continue developing the imaging system.

One of Andrew’s achievements has been to develop new techniques that increase the precision and accuracy of the measurements. In conjunction with researchers and students at the University of Waikato and Victoria University of Wellington, he intends to continue developing these techniques and to reduce the scale of the apparatus to eventually produce a device the size of a standard digital camera.

Andrew attended Te Puke High School and completed his undergraduate and doctoral studies at the University of Waikato.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


By May 2018: Wider, Earlier Microbead Ban

The sale and manufacture of wash-off products containing plastic microbeads will be banned in New Zealand earlier than previously expected, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today. More>>


Snail-ier Mail: NZ Post To Ditch FastPost

New Zealand Post customers will see a change to how they can send priority mail from 1 January 2018. The FastPost service will no longer be available from this date. More>>


Property Institute: English Backs Of Debt To Income Plan

Property Institute of New Zealand Chief Executive Ashley Church is applauding today’s decision, by Prime Minister Bill English, to take Debt-to-income ratios off the table as a tool available to the Reserve Bank. More>>


Divesting: NZ Super Fund Shifts Passive Equities To Low-Carbon

The NZ$35 billion NZ Super Fund’s NZ$14 billion global passive equity portfolio, 40% of the overall Fund, is now low-carbon, the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation announced today. More>>


Split Decision - Appeal Planned: EPA Allows Taranaki Bight Seabed Mine

The Decision-making Committee, appointed by the Board of the Environmental Protection Authority to decide a marine consent application by Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd, has granted consent, subject to conditions, for the company to mine iron sands off the South Taranaki Bight. More>>