Since I learned about point clouds a while ago, I wanted to gain some practical experience with them. The goal was to scan a terrain / landscape-like scene, using an as basic as possible hardware setup, not a depth camera.
I used a LIDAR-Lite (a laser based distance sensor), mounted on a pan-tilt kit, driven by servos to position the sensor. All those devices were controlled by an Arduino, which streamed the sensor data back to a PC. To avoid problems with outdoor light, I added some wavy terrain-like features to a room, and scanned it instead of an outdoor scene.
Finally, I wrote my own software to compute each voxel (3D point / pixel in space) from the sensor data and servo angles, such that I could render them as a depth map and a point cloud, with various methods.Continue reading