The tracking system at present, scans the entire background along with the object to be tracked and by using intense image processing it separates the object from its background. After separating the object, the motion of the object is detected. This method is complex and expensive. But in laser tracking system instead of scanning the entire background along with the object, we will scan only the object. So no image processing is required at all. We can directly detect the motion of the object. This method requires only few components, hence very simple and inexpensive.
Components used in laser tracking system
The laser tracking system requires three main components. Performance of these components decides the accuracy and efficiency of tracking system. They are
- Laser source - a focusable laser diode delivering required optical power. The required optical power depends on the distance between the object and the tracking system. When the object is at greater distance, high optical power is required and vice versa. since the target is likely to represent a small portion of the total field of view, the illuminating energy can be efficiently concentrated, and therefore the system will be extremely power-efficient and work equally well with distant targets. based on safety the laser source is classified into six types. they are class 1, class 2, class 2a, class 3a, class 3b and class 4.
- Steering mirrors - can be tilted in both x and y axis, which is used for focusing the laser beam towards the object which is being tracked. please see the post regarding steering mirrors.
- Photodetector - a transducer capable of accepting an optical signal and producing an electrical signal containing the same information as in the optical signal. As the requirements for applications vary a lot concerning wavelength, maximum optical power, dynamic range, linearity, quantum efficiency, bandwidth, size, robustness and cost, there are many types of photodetectors. For laser tracking application we require very narrow bandwidth, wide angle photodetectors.