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High-sensitivity analysis of polarization by surface reflection

: Atkinson, G.A.; Ernst, J.D.


Machine vision and applications : MV & A 29 (2018), No.7, pp.1171-1189
ISSN: 0932-8092
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IIS ()

The exploitation of polarization information in the field of computer vision has become progressively more popular during the last few decades. This is primarily due to (1) the fact that polarization is a source of mostly untapped information for machine vision; (2) the relative computational ease by which geometrical information about a scene (e.g. surface normals) may be extracted from polarization data; and (3) the recent introduction of camera hardware able to capture polarization data in real time. The motivation for this paper is that a detailed quantitative study into the precision of polarization measurements with respect to expectation has yet to be performed. The paper therefore presents a detailed analysis and optimization of the key aspects of data capture necessary to acquire the most precise (as opposed to fast) results for the benefit of future research into the field of “polarization vision.” The paper mainly focuses on a rotating polarizer method as this is shown to be the most accurate for high-sensitivity measurements. Commercial polarization cameras by contrast generally sacrifice precision for the benefit of much shorter capture times. That said, the paper reviews the state of the art in polarization camera technology and quantitatively evaluates the performance of one such camera: the Fraunhofer “POLKA.”