Inventum 2011 Award goes to RIEGL LMS
January 26th 2012, Austria’s 10 best patents were honored for the first time. In the context of a ceremonial act in Vienna, the Austrian Department for Traffic, Innovation and Technology, the Austrian Patent Office, and the publishing company Bohmann presented RIEGL LMS with “Inventum 2011”, the award for the “Patent of the Year”.
“Innovation in 3D is more than just a slogan for us”, explains Dr. Martin Pfennigbauer, Director of Research and Intellectual Properties at RIEGL LMS, “Numerous national and international patents submitted at the Austrian Patent Office are of RIEGL’s origin. In the last three years only, RIEGL has registered 26 inventions.”
The awarded patent presents an apparatus and a method for determining the exact timing and amplitude of an incoming signal.
Measuring distances from a laser rangefinder to an object is performed by determining the time it takes a laser pulse to travel from the instrument to the object and for the reflected echo signal from the object to the instrument. The corresponding distance is then calculated from the known speed of light. This “pulsed-time-of-flight measurement” relies on determining the timing of the outgoing and incoming laser pulse with high accuracy and resolution. If range resolution in the range of mm is needed, timing resolution in the range of picoseconds is required. This corresponds to a billion times in the resolution of a stop watch used for sports events.
The situation is additionally complicated by the fact that the amplitude of the incoming signals can vary strongly. For laser rangefinders variations of 1: 1 million are pretty usual.
With our invention, this problem is solved in an elegant way.
In order to determine the exact timing and amplitude of an incoming signal, each single signal is digitized and compared to a set of previously determined sampled reference signals. The fitting of the sampling values to the set of reference signals is performed in a two-dimensional process providing a resolution by far exceeding the digitization rate.
The novelty of the principle is threefold: First to apply system-inherent reference signals rather than a mathematical approximation, second to fit the received signal not only with respect to the timing but also with respect to the amplitude, and third to apply weights to emphasize the impact of sensitive parts of the signal.
This principle can be employed in different fields of applications where high timing accuracy and resolution and at the same time high dynamic range in input signal amplitudes are required.
We are already using this principle on a regular commercial base. Successfully integrated in our high performance V-Line laser scanners, it enables us to provide unrivaled products. Several hundred of these high-end laser scanners have already been manufactured and sold all over the world –making us a global player in 3D laser scanning technology.
“We are proud of receiving this award. It shows us the public appreciation of our time and cost intensive R&D efforts. Since its foundation, RIEGL has always been wholeheartedly dedicated to developing and manufacturing high-end technology”, said Dr. Johannes Riegl, Chief Executive Officer
“Congratulations to our successful inventor group!”
The enclosed pdf-file gives some details on the RIEGL inventor group responsible for the submission of the awarded patent.
And here a special image showing the successful inventor-team scanned with a V-Line laser scanner using the new principle to determine exact timing and amplitude signal: