Deep-Sea Stereo Camera System for Optical 3D Measurements

Field of research: Deep Sea Research

Institution: GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, DeepSea Monitoring Group
Contact: Dr. Kevin Köser
Location: GEOMAR OST, Bldg. 8

This is a stereo camera system that allows capturing synchronized photos from two different perspectives (freely configurable, no fixed baseline), e.g. for photogrammetric applications (also for moving fauna) or 3D viewing. It could be mounted to an ROV or deployed on a lander. For example, the system has been tried on Falkor cruise FK160320-"Virtual Vents" (mounted to ROV ROPOS) for 3D reconstruction of black smokers. Technical description: The system consists of two Teledyne Dalsa Genie TS (12 mega pixel) color cameras in 6000m pressure housings (11cm/13cm inner/outer diameter, ca. 30cm length) with flat saphire glass ports (compatible dome ports also exist at GEOMAR). The cameras use a global shutter CMOS sensor and are both triggered at the same time using an external or internal trigger source (rising/falling edge generated by arduino). The images are either stored locally on a 1TB SSD via an inbuilt intel NUC computer or can be transferred/downloaded via (Subconn) Gigabit ethernet ports. This is not a video camera and it has NO streaming capabilities, although it is possible to upload photos directly to a remote computer (e.g. via ethernet telemetry to the ship). The maximum speed of capture is in the range of 10Hz when saving as full resolution jpeg and can be increased when using only a portion of the image. The lens mount is M42 and currently we use 18mm Zeiss lenses with manual focus (has to be preset correctly!) that provide approximately 70 degrees field of view in water. Energy consumption is in the range of 80W (input power 18V-36V via subconn-4), weight <20kg. Using this system requires quite good external illumination, e.g. LED flashes can be co-triggered with the photos. Because of the illumination requirements it is recommended to use the system only in the range of 1m-3m object distance. If you are interested to use the system, the DeepSea Monitoring group can provide help on camera calibration, installation, etc.