Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



U.S. government works are not subject to copyright.


Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 173 (2020) 105394


Low-cost depth-cameras have been used in many agricultural applications with reported advantages of low cost, reliability and speed of measurement. However, some problems were also reported and seem to be technology related, so understanding the limitations of each type of depth camera technology could provide a basis for technology selection and the development of research involving its use. The cameras use one or a combination of two of the three available technologies: structured light, time-of-flight (ToF), and stereoscopy. The objectives were to evaluate these different technologies for depth sensing, including measuring accuracy and repeatability of distance data and measurements at different positions within the image, and cameras usefulness in indoor and outdoor settings. Then, cameras were tested in a swine facility and in a corn field. Five different cameras were used: (1) Microsoft Kinect v.1, (2) Microsoft Kinect v.2, (3) Intel® RealSense™ Depth Camera D435, (4) ZED Stereo Camera (StereoLabs), and (5) CamBoard Pico Flexx (PMD Technologies). Results indicate that there were significant camera to camera differences for ZED Stereo Camera and Kinect v.1 camera (p < 0.05). All cameras showed an increase in the standard deviation as the distance between camera and object increased; however, the Intel RealSense camera had a larger increase. Time-of-flight cameras had the smallest error between different sizes of objects. Time-of-flight cameras had non-readable zones on the corners of the images. The results indicate that the ToF technology