Stereo Vision

A Brief Introduction

by David Sharp



Any robot or creature that hopes to be able to handle itself well in a real-world environment needs to take in much information about its surroundings. The field of hobby robotics has long employed such sensors as infrared emitters/detectors for such things as proximity detectors, rangefinders, and line trackers, and sonar has been used to acquire crude range maps. These and other sensors are great because they are simple and inexpensive, but they quickly reach their practical limits. It is hard to deny that some form of vision is essential for a robot to be truly successful in the real world. For example, it is necessary to tell how far away and how large objects are, and whether the terrain is negotiable or not.

Humans use many visual methods, or depth cues, to tell the distances to the things in our visual field. Here are a few examples:
However, perhaps the most compelling and interesting depth cue is that of binocular disparity, and that is what this page is primarily concerned with.

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Created: 2/22/04