This small, non-contact optical sensor increases the capability and flexibility of computer controlled machines by detecting its relative position to a workpiece in all six degrees of freedom (DOF). At a fraction of the cost, it is over 200 times faster and up to 25 times more accurate than competing 3-DOF sensors. Applications range from flexible manufacturing to a 6-DOF mouse for computers. Until now, highly agile and accurate machines have been limited by their inability to adjust to changes in their tasks. By enabling them to sense all six degrees of position, these machines can now adapt to new and complicated tasks without human intervention or delay--simplifying production, reducing costs, and enhancing the value and capability of flexible manufacturing.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.