A real-time optical measurement system

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Virginia Tech


Measurement of the dynamics of flexible structures is difficult because the motion is often complex and the structures are not well suited to the attachment of sensors. As a result, non-contact optical systems are used. However, optical systems produce large amounts of data which make their use in real-time measurement difficult. Conventional computers are not well suited to the processing requirements associated with data from optical systems. In this thesis, algorithms and architectures to reduce the data bandwidth of an optical measurement system are investigated. Simulations of the ability of the algorithms to find a target on a linear-array charge-coupled device (CCD) camera are performed. The running maximum algorithm provides the best accuracy and speed and therefore is recommended.

A real-time architecture to implement the running maximum algorithm is developed. The architecture allows the optical system to operate at 9700 frames/second. Experimental results from a prototype system show very good accuracy for both static and dynamic measurements.