Metrology techniques based on Industrial Vision are increasingly used both in research and industry. These are contactless techniques characterized by the use of optical devices, such as RGB and Depth cameras. In particular, multi-camera systems, i. e. systems composed of several cameras, are used to carry out three-dimensional measurements of various types. In addition to mechanical measurements this type of systems are often used to monitor the movements of human subjects within a given space, as well as for the reconstruction of three-dimensional objects and shapes.
To perform an accurate measurment, multi-camera systems must be carefully calibrated. The calibration process is a fundamental concept in Computer Vision applications that involve image-based measurements. In fact, Vision System calibration is a key factor to obtain reliable performances, as it allows to find the correspondence between the workspace and the points present on the images acquired by the cameras.
A multi-camera system calibration is the process that allows to obtain the geometric parameters related to distortions, positions and orientations of each camera that constitutes the system. It is therefore necessary to identify a mathematical model that takes into account both the internal functioning of the device and the relationship between the camera and the external world.
The calibration process consists of two parts:
- The intrinsic calibration, necessary to model the individual devices in terms of focal length, coordinates of the main point and distortion coefficients of the acquired image;
- The extrinsic calibration, necessary to determine the position and orientation of each device with respect to an absolute reference system. By means of extrinsic calibration it is possible to obtain the position of the camera reference system with respect to the absolute reference system in terms of rotation and translation.
Traditional calibration methods are based on the use of a calibration target, i. e. a known object, usually a plane object, on which there are calibration points that are unambiguously recognizable and have known coordinates. These calibration targets are automatically recognized by the system in order to calculate the position of the object with respect to the camera and thus obtain the parameters of rotation and translation of the camera with respect to the global reference system (Fig. 1).