Vision Tools #1: Test Environment

This is the first part in a series of posts I’m writing on the tools developed and used during the implementation of the computer vision system for the robot. The vision system is meant to be able to identify locations on pipes for the robot to measure and provide video feedback for the human operator.

One of the most fundamental parts of the vision system is the ability to map points from pixel coordinates and depth measurements obtained by our Xtion RGBD camera to actual 3D coordinates in the physical world. Luckily, much of this functionality is provided by the OpenNI2 drivers we’re using to interface with Xtion, but calibration is certainly still necessary.

To aid in calibration, I created a physical environment that allows us to place the Xtion at pre-measured physical locations. Thus, we can select a point from the Xtion’s video feed, use the software to map the point to a physical coordinate, and easily see how accurately it matches to the real physical distances to the identified location. An image of the test environment is provided below.

Vision system physical test environment.


The poster board attached to the wall is marked by a grid of points arranged in 10cm squares. Lines have been put down on the floor to indicate 50cm and 100cm distances from the wall, and alignment with 0cm, 40cm, and 70cm from the left side of the grid.

The primary use of the test environment has been to validate efforts to calibrate the Xtion. I have been using the standard checkerboard calibration technique, and have been able to achieve a mapping from pixel coordinates to real-world coordinates that is quite a bit better than the default Xtion settings.