The research objective of this Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award is to innovate a kilo-Hertz to mega-Hertz three-dimensional sensing technique with camera-pixel (Âµm-level) spatial resolution for rapidly occurring mechanical and biological events such as explosions or live beating hearts. The approach involves bridging superfast sinusoidal phase-shifting techniques with digital-light-processing (DLP) projectors using an optical defocusing technique. Specifically, this research will examine the image-generation mechanism of unmodified, inexpensive DLP technology to capture required patterns precisely and rapidly and will theoretically and experimentally explore the defocusing technique to overcome the limitations of the existing high-speed, three-dimensional sensing techniques. The educational goals are to encourage the participation of diverse groups, including underrepresented students, and to integrate the outcomes of this research into educational activities. The approach is to reach out to K-12 students and the general public during Iowa State public events, to develop a repository of three-dimensional videos and data for education, and to provide students with summer internship opportunities.
Knowledge obtained from this research will have many benefits to society. The addition of a three-dimensional sensing kit and videos to K-12 curricula along with the enrichment of both undergraduate and graduate engineering curricula will enhance optics, biology, and sensing education. Partnering with Virtual Reality Education Pathfinders will allow this research to inspire at-risk students to explore their options in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields. Furthermore, the superfast three-dimensional sensing technology will lead to major breakthroughs in fields important to public health and safety. Three-dimensional sensing of organs in medicine will offer more accurate diagnoses and provide surgeons with more intuitive situational awareness during robotic surgeries. Three-dimensional data for structural tests will aid the earthquake-resistant structures community in designing safer buildings for people to work and live in.