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A Mask-Based Approach for the Geometric Calibration of Thermal-Infrared Cameras

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6 Author(s)
Vidas, S. ; Speech, Audio, Image & Video Technol. Group, Queensland Univ. of Technol., Brisbane, QLD, Australia ; Lakemond, R. ; Denman, S. ; Fookes, C.
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Accurate and efficient thermal-infrared (IR) camera calibration is important for advancing computer vision research within the thermal modality. This paper presents an approach for geometrically calibrating individual and multiple cameras in both the thermal and visible modalities. The proposed technique can be used to correct for lens distortion and to simultaneously reference both visible and thermal-IR cameras to a single coordinate frame. The most popular existing approach for the geometric calibration of thermal cameras uses a printed chessboard heated by a flood lamp and is comparatively inaccurate and difficult to execute. Additionally, software toolkits provided for calibration either are unsuitable for this task or require substantial manual intervention. A new geometric mask with high thermal contrast and not requiring a flood lamp is presented as an alternative calibration pattern. Calibration points on the pattern are then accurately located using a clustering-based algorithm which utilizes the maximally stable extremal region detector. This algorithm is integrated into an automatic end-to-end system for calibrating single or multiple cameras. The evaluation shows that using the proposed mask achieves a mean reprojection error up to 78% lower than that using a heated chessboard. The effectiveness of the approach is further demonstrated by using it to calibrate two multiple-camera multiple-modality setups. Source code and binaries for the developed software are provided on the project Web site.

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Instrumentation and Measurement, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:61 ,  Issue: 6 )