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Computer Aided Inspection (CAI) is a new technology that enables one to develop a comparison of a physical part to a 3D CAD model. This process is faster, more complete, and more accurate than using a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) or other more traditional methods. An automatic inspection method and apparatus using structured light and machine vision camera is used to inspect an object in conjunction with the geometric model of the object. Camera images of the object are analyzed by computer to produce the location of points on the object's surfaces in three dimensions. Point-cloud data is taken from a laser scanner or other 3-D scanning device. During a setup phase before object inspection, the points are analyzed with respect to the geometric model of the object. The software provides a graphical comparison of the manufactured part compared to the CAD model. Many points are eliminated to reduce data-taking and analysis time to a minimum and prevent extraneous reflections from producing errors. When similar objects are subsequently inspected, points from each surface of interest are spatially averaged to give high accuracy measurements of object dimensions. The inspection device uses several multiplexed sensors, each composed of a camera and a structured light source, to measure all sides of the object in a single pass.
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