A computer algorithm for reconstructing a scene from two projections

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A simple algorithm for computing the three-dimensional structure of a scene from a correlated pair of perspective projections is described here, when the spatial relationship between the two projections is unknown. This problem is relevant not only to photographic surveying1 but also to binocular vision2, where the non-visual information available to the observer about the orientation and focal length of each eye is much less accurate than the optical information supplied by the retinal images themselves. The problem also arises in monocular perception of motion3, where the two projections represent views which are separated in time as well as space. As Marr and Poggio4 have noted, the fusing of two images to produce a three-dimensional percept involves two distinct processes: the establishment of a 1:1 correspondence between image points in the two views—the ‘correspondence problem’—and the use of the associated disparities for determining the distances of visible elements in the scene. I shall assume that the correspondence problem has been solved; the problem of reconstructing the scene then reduces to that of finding the relative orientation of the two viewpoints.

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  1. 1

    Thompson, E. H. Photogrammetric Record 3(14), 152–159 (1959).

  2. 2

    Ogle, K. N. Researches in Binocular Vision (Hafner, New York, 1964).

  3. 3

    Ullman, S. The Interpretation of Visual Motion (MIT Press, Cambridge, 1979).

  4. 4

    Marr, D. & Poggio, T. Science 194, 283–287 (1976).

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