Focal-plane three-dimensional imaging method based on temporal ghost imaging: a proof of concept simulation
A new 3D imaging technique, based on temporal ghost imaging, enables simultaneous intensity and depth maps using only a simple camera and an amplitude-modulated laser. Depth maps are generally created using either stereoscopic imaging or spatially structured illumination, or with short pulses and fast, precise detectors. In contrast, the approach in this paper uses floodlight illumination that is randomly modulated in time (but spatially uniform) and a long-integration-time focal plane array (such as one might find in a commercial camera). The varying depth in the scene translates to different arrival times of the reflected pulses at each pixel. This causes each pixel to integrate a different section of the modulated laser pulse during exposure. A single pulse is sufficient to create an intensity image of the scene, but by transmitting multiple, randomly modulated pulses and correlating them with the pixel intensity fluctuations, the time of flight to each pixel (and thus the depth scene) can be deduced. This technique does require many pulses to form a depth image, and so may not be suitable for all applications. However, it could yield a high-quality depth map with relatively simple, commoditized hardware.