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Open AccessArticle

The Dynamic Photometric Stereo Method Using a Multi-Tap CMOS Image Sensor

Graduate School of Information Science and Electrical Engineering, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 819-0395, Japan
Institute for Datability Science, Osaka University, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
Research Institute of Electronics, Shizuoka University, Shizuoka 432-8011, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
This paper is an extended version of our paper published in Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Pattern Recognition; IEEE: Cancún, Mexico, 4–8 December 2016; pp. 2357–2362.
Sensors 2018, 18(3), 786;
Received: 28 December 2017 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 3 March 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Image Sensors)
PDF [1963 KB, uploaded 5 March 2018]


The photometric stereo method enables estimation of surface normals from images that have been captured using different but known lighting directions. The classical photometric stereo method requires at least three images to determine the normals in a given scene. However, this method cannot be applied to dynamic scenes because it is assumed that the scene remains static while the required images are captured. In this work, we present a dynamic photometric stereo method for estimation of the surface normals in a dynamic scene. We use a multi-tap complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor to capture the input images required for the proposed photometric stereo method. This image sensor can divide the electrons from the photodiode from a single pixel into the different taps of the exposures and can thus capture multiple images under different lighting conditions with almost identical timing. We implemented a camera lighting system and created a software application to enable estimation of the normal map in real time. We also evaluated the accuracy of the estimated surface normals and demonstrated that our proposed method can estimate the surface normals of dynamic scenes. View Full-Text
Keywords: vision sensor; computational photography; 3D surface recovery; photometric stereo vision sensor; computational photography; 3D surface recovery; photometric stereo

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Yoda, T.; Nagahara, H.; Taniguchi, R.-I.; Kagawa, K.; Yasutomi, K.; Kawahito, S. The Dynamic Photometric Stereo Method Using a Multi-Tap CMOS Image Sensor. Sensors 2018, 18, 786.

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