Christian Beder, Bogumil Bartczak and Reinhard Koch
Recently real-time active 3D range cameras based on time-of-flight technology (PMD) have become available. Those cameras can be considered as a competing technique
for stereo-vision based surface reconstruction. Since those systems directly yield accurate 3d measurements, they can be used for benchmarking vision based approaches, especially in highly dynamic environments. Therefore, a comparative study of the two approaches is relevant. In this work the achievable accuracy of the two techniques, PMD and stereo, is compared on the basis of patchlet estimation. As patchlet we define an oriented small planar 3d patch with associated surface normal. Leastsquares estimation schemes for estimating patchlets from PMD range images as well as from a pair of stereo images are derived. It is shown, how the achivable accuracy can be estimated for both systems. Experiments under optimal conditions for both systems are performed and the achievable accuracies are compared. It has been found that the PMD system outperformed the stereo system in terms of achievable accuracy for distance measurements, while the estimation of normal direction is comparable for both systems.