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1. (WO2019064022) SYSTÈMES ET PROCÉDÉS D'IMAGERIE ET DE COMMUNICATION OPTIQUE SANS FIL
Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

CLAIMS:

1. A wireless optical communication system for use in manufacturing operations, the system comprising:

an optical transmitter arrangement;

a first optical receiver arrangement for attachment to a first apparatus;

a second optical receiver arrangement for attachment to a second apparatus; and

a controller configured to control the optical transmitter arrangement to transmit a first signal using a first light beam to the first optical receiver arrangement and to transmit a second signal using a second light beam to the second optical receiver arrangement,

wherein the first optical receiver arrangement is configured to detect the first light beam and determine the first signal from the detected first light beam and the second optical receiver arrangement is configured to detect the second light beam and determine the second signal from the detected second light beam, and

wherein the first signal includes one or more commands or instructions for causing the first apparatus to perform a first manufacturing operation and the second signal includes one or more commands or instructions for causing the second apparatus to perform a second manufacturing operation.

2. The system of claim 1 , wherein the first signal is defined by varying one or more properties of the first light beam in time and/or in space and the second signal is defined by varying one or more properties of the second light beam in time and/or in space.

3. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the first and/or second light beams comprise structured light.

4. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the first and second light beams are spatially distinct.

5. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the optical transmitter arrangement comprises one or more optical sources.

6. The system of claim 5, wherein the one or more optical sources are configured to operate independently of one another.

7. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the optical transmitter arrangement is configured to transmit structured light.

8. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the optical transmitter arrangement is configured to illuminate a scene which includes the first and second apparatus, for example in a flicker-free manner, whilst also transmitting the first signal using the first light beam to the first optical receiver arrangement and transmitting the second signal using the second light beam to the second optical receiver arrangement.

9. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the optical transmitter arrangement comprises one or more LEDs and/or a micro-LED array.

10. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the system comprises:

a system optical receiver arrangement and at least one of:

a first apparatus optical transmitter arrangement for attachment to the first apparatus; and

a second apparatus optical transmitter arrangement for attachment to the second apparatus.

1 1. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the first and/or second apparatus comprises manufacturing equipment.

12. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the first and/or second manufacturing operations comprise an additive or a subtractive manufacturing process.

13. The system of any preceding claim, wherein the system comprises a camera such as a video camera, and the system is configured to use the camera for photometric stereo-imaging.

14. A wireless optical communication method for use in manufacturing operations, the method comprising:

transmitting a first signal using a first light beam from a controller to a first apparatus, detecting the first light beam at the first apparatus and determining the first signal from the detected first light beam; and

transmitting a second signal using a second light beam from the controller to a second apparatus, detecting the second light beam at the second apparatus, and determining the second signal from the detected second light beam,

wherein the first signal includes one or more commands or instructions for causing the first apparatus to perform a first manufacturing operation and the second signal includes one or more commands or instructions for causing the second apparatus to perform a second manufacturing operation.

15. The method of claim 14, comprising:

exclusively transmitting the first signal from the controller to the first apparatus using the first light beam, and/or

exclusively transmitting the second signal from the controller to the second apparatus using the second light beam.

16. The method of claim 14 or 15, wherein:

transmitting the first signal comprises spatially and/or temporally varying the intensity of the first light beam; and

transmitting the second signal comprises spatially and/or temporally varying the intensity of the second light beam.

17. The method of any one of claims 14 to 16, comprising:

translating the first signal into a first apparatus computer language used or understood by the first apparatus; and

translating the second signal into a second apparatus computer language used or understood by the second apparatus.

18. The method of any one of claims 14 to 17, comprising performing a calibration step, wherein the calibration step comprises:

communicating from the first apparatus to the controller one or more commands or instructions the first apparatus is capable of receiving and/or the first manufacturing operations the first apparatus is capable of performing; and/or

communicating from the second apparatus to the controller one or more commands or instructions the second apparatus is capable of receiving and/or the second manufacturing operations the second apparatus is capable of performing.

19. The method of any one of claims 14 to 18, comprising:

generating first apparatus data using the first apparatus, and using the first apparatus data to modify the first manufacturing operation, and/or

generating second apparatus data using the second apparatus, and using the second apparatus data to modify the second manufacturing operation.

20. The method of any one of claims 14 to 19, comprising:

transmitting a series of light patterns into a scene which includes the first and second apparatus so that each apparatus receives a unique time-varying optical signal; and

determining a position associated with the first and/or second apparatus from the time-varying optical signals detected at the first and/or second apparatus.

21. The method of any one of claims 14 to 20, comprising using an optical transmitter arrangement to illuminate a scene which includes the first and second apparatus, for example in a flicker-free manner, whilst also using the same optical transmitter arrangement to transmit the first and second signals using the first and second light beams.

22. The method of any one of claims 14 to 21 , comprising generating a photometric stereo-image by:

illuminating a scene from a plurality of different directions;

recording an image of at least part of the scene illuminated from each different direction; and

analysing the recorded images to create a photometric stereo-image of at least part of the scene.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein the scene includes at least one sample, object and/or item upon which the first and/or second manufacturing operations are performed.

24. The method of claim 22 or 23, comprising modulating the light used to illuminate the scene from each direction differently.

25. The method of any one of claims 22 to 24, comprising:

modulating the intensity of the light used to illuminate the scene from the different directions with different frequencies;

recording a series of images of at least part of the scene when illuminated simultaneously using the modulated intensity light from each of the different directions; and

performing a Fourier analysis on the recorded series of images to determine an image of at least part of the scene corresponding to illumination of the scene from each different direction.

26. The method of claim 25, comprising

repeatedly recording images of at least part of the scene illuminated from each different direction at a video frame rate; and

analysing the recorded images to create a photometric stereo video image of at least part of the scene.

27. The method of claim 26, wherein each frequency is real-valued and/or each frequency is less than or equal to the video frame rate.

28. The method of any one of claims 22 to 24, comprising:

modulating the intensity of the light used to illuminate the scene from the different directions with different frequencies, wherein each frequency is binary-valued and Manchester encoded;

recording a series of images of at least part of the scene when illuminated simultaneously using the modulated intensity light from each of the different directions so as to oversample the modulated intensity light from each of the different directions; and

multiplying a received signal associated with the recorded series of images by a pre-determined decoding matrix to determine an image of at least part of the scene corresponding to illumination of the scene from each different direction.

29. The method of claim 28, comprising:

repeatedly recording images of at least part of the scene illuminated from each different direction at a video frame rate; and

analysing the recorded images to create a photometric stereo video image of at least part of the scene.

30. The method of claim 29, wherein each frequency is less than or equal to the video frame rate.

31. The method of any one of claims 26 to 30, comprising using a video camera to repeatedly record the images of at least part of the scene illuminated from each different direction.

32. A system for photometric stereo-imaging, the system comprising:

a plurality of optical sources arranged so as to illuminate a scene from a plurality of different directions;

a video camera for repeatedly recording images of at least part of the scene illuminated from each different direction at a video frame rate; and

a processor for analysing the recorded images to create a photometric stereo video of at least part of the scene.

33. The system of claim 32, wherein one or more of the optical sources comprises an LED or a laser.

34. The system of claim 32 or 33, wherein one or more of the optical sources comprise a visible and/or a white LED.

35. The system of any one of claims 32 to 34, wherein one or more of the optical sources are configured to illuminate the scene, for example in a flicker-free manner, whilst also illuminating the scene from the plurality of different directions.

36. The system of any one of claims 32 to 35, comprising a receiver for attachment to a robot, an agent such as a security officer, and/or a semi-autonomous device.

37. The system of claim 36, wherein the receiver comprises an optical receiver arrangement such as an optical point detector such as photodiode or an area or image sensor such as a CCD sensor or a CMOS sensor.

38. A method for use in photometric stereo-imaging, the method comprising:

illuminating a scene from a plurality of different directions;

repeatedly recording images of at least part of the scene illuminated from each different direction at a video frame rate; and

analysing the recorded images to create a photometric stereo video of at least part of the scene.

39. The method of claim 38, using a different optical source to illuminate the scene from each different direction.

40. The method of claim 38 or 39, using an LED such as a visible and/or a white LED to illuminate the scene from each different direction.

41. The method of any one of claims 38 to 40, comprising using a video camera to repeatedly record the images of at least part of the scene illuminated from each different direction.

42. The method of any one of claims 38 to 41 , comprising illuminating the scene from each of the different directions sequentially.

43. The method of claim 38 when dependent on claim 41 , comprising synchronising the illumination of the scene with the video camera, such that the direction of illumination corresponding to each image recorded by the video camera can be known.

44. The method of any one of claims 38 to 41 , comprising illuminating the scene from each of the different directions simultaneously.

45. The method of claim 44, comprising modulating the light used to illuminate the scene from each direction differently.

46. The method of claim 44 or 45, comprising:

modulating the intensity of the light used to illuminate the scene from the different directions with different frequencies;

recording a series of images of at least part of the scene when illuminated simultaneously using the modulated intensity light from each of the different directions; and

performing a Fourier analysis on the recorded series of images to determine an image of at least part of the scene corresponding to illumination of the object from each different direction.

47. The method of claim 46, wherein each frequency is real-valued and/or each frequency is less than or equal to the video frame rate.

48. The method of claim 44 or 45, comprising:

modulating the intensity of the light used to illuminate the scene from the different directions with different frequencies, wherein each frequency is binary-valued and Manchester encoded;

recording a series of images of at least part of the scene when illuminated simultaneously using the modulated intensity light from each of the different directions so as to oversample the modulated intensity light from each of the different directions; and

multiplying a received signal associated with the recorded series of images by a pre-determined decoding matrix to determine an image of at least part of the scene corresponding to illumination of the scene from each different direction.

49. The method of claim 48, wherein each frequency is less than or equal to the video frame rate.

50. The method of any one of claims 38 to 49, comprising transmitting a time-varying data signal using the light illuminating the scene from at least one of the different directions.

51. The method of claim 50 when dependent on claim 44 or 45, comprising superimposing the time-varying data signal on the modulated light.

52. The method of claim 51 , comprising superimposing the time-varying data signal on the modulated light at a data rate which is greater than the frequency of modulation of the modulated light.

53. The method of any one of claims 38 to 52, comprising identifying one or more objects in the photometric stereo video.

54. The method of claim 53, comprising tracking movement of the one or more objects in the photometric stereo video.

55. The method of claim 53 or 54, wherein at least one of the one or more objects comprises a receiver and the method comprises transmitting data to the at least one receiver.

56. The method of claim 55, comprising transmitting data to the at least one receiver in response to the photometric stereo video.

57. The method of claim 55 or 56, comprising transmitting data to the at least one receiver in response to movement of at least one of the one or more objects.

58. The method of any one of claims 38 to 57, comprising using the plurality of optical sources to illuminate, for example in a flicker-free manner, the scene whilst also illuminating the scene from the plurality of different directions.

59. The method of any one of claims 38 to 58, wherein the method is performed before, during and/or after a manufacturing operation is performed on an object in the scene.

60. The method of claim 59, wherein the object comprises a sample, item and/or device.

61. The method of claims 59 or 60, wherein the object comprises at least one of a solid, liquid and a gas.