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Source: University of Waikato

Dr Lee Streeter has solved a big problem in time-of-flight technology, improving the measurement of motion through 3D imaging.

And now his work has been recognised, having just received the Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Research Excellence Award for Technology, Applied Science and Engineering (Cooper Award).

The award, which was presented to Dr Streeter at a ceremony last week, is given to encourage research excellence in technology, applied science and engineering by early career researchers in New Zealand.

“It is an honour to be recognised by Royal Society Te Apārangi with the Cooper Award,” says Dr Streeter.

“Reaching this stage of my career is the result of years of hard work, with support from key individuals since I completed my PhD.

“Despite the current explosion of devices for auto and mobile applications, there are still many unsolved problems in range imaging. I am confident that future work will continue to discover new, useful, and more powerful technologies.”

Earlier in the year, Dr Streeter successfully accounted for movement in time-of-flight range imaging, which allows for physical measurements to be captured by timing how long it takes a light wave to travel to an object and back.

This method is much faster than using laser scanning, which builds a 3D image slice by slice, and is used in a number of applications including robotics, virtual reality gaming and movements of goods in a factory.

Historically, time-of-flight cameras have been designed to measure the distance within static scenes, but couldn’t interpret scenes with complicated motion. Dr Streeter’s world-leading mathematical modelling addressed that problem, meaning motion could be captured more accurately and with little corruption.

“The big discovery came with a surprising solution to the motion problem which rendered the 3D images immune to motion effect. This exciting solution also allows us to measure the speed and direction of objects moving past the camera, transforming the motion blur into a useful measurement.”

Last month, Dr Streeter was also recognised for his work at the annual Kudos Awards, where he received the Datamars Engineering Science Award.