Abstract

In an underwater imaging system, a perspective camera is often placed outside a tank or in waterproof housing with a flat glass window. The refraction of light occurs when a light ray passes through the water–glass and air–glass interface, rendering the conventional multiple view geometry based on the single viewpoint (SVP) camera model invalid. While most recent underwater vision studies mainly focus on the challenging topic of calibrating such systems, no previous work has systematically studied the influence of refraction on underwater three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction. This paper demonstrates the possibility of using the SVP camera model in underwater 3D reconstruction through theoretical analysis of refractive distortion and simulations. Then, the performance of the SVP camera model in multiview underwater 3D reconstruction is quantitatively evaluated. The experimental results reveal a rather surprising and useful yet overlooked fact that the SVP camera model with radial distortion correction and focal length adjustment can compensate for refraction and achieve high accuracy in multiview underwater 3D reconstruction (within 0.7 mm for an object of dimension 200 mm) compared with the results of land-based systems. Such an observation justifies the use of the SVP camera model in underwater application for reconstructing reliable 3D scenes. Our results can be used to guide the selection of system parameters in the design of an underwater 3D imaging setup.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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