(19)
(11)EP 2 141 912 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
11.03.2020 Bulletin 2020/11

(21)Application number: 08752026.8

(22)Date of filing:  24.04.2008
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H04N 5/225(2006.01)
G06T 3/40(2006.01)
G21C 17/08(2006.01)
G01S 3/786(2006.01)
H04N 1/393(2006.01)
G01B 11/00(2006.01)
G21C 17/003(2006.01)
H04N 1/387(2006.01)
G01N 21/88(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2008/057927
(87)International publication number:
WO 2008/136348 (13.11.2008 Gazette  2008/46)

(54)

APPEARANCE INSPECTION APPARATUS AND APPEARANCE INSPECTION METHOD

ERSCHEINUNGSINSPEKTIONSVORRICHTUNG UND ERSCHEINUNGSINSPEKTIONSVERFAHREN

APPAREIL D'INSPECTION D'ASPECT ET PROCÉDÉ D'INSPECTION D'ASPECT


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MT NL NO PL PT RO SE SI SK TR

(30)Priority: 27.04.2007 JP 2007118541

(43)Date of publication of application:
06.01.2010 Bulletin 2010/01

(73)Proprietor: Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba
Minato-ku Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • AIKAWA, Tetsuro
    Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)
  • SATOH, Yoshinori
    Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)
  • OCHIAI, Makoto
    Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)
  • ADACHI, Hiroyuki
    Tokyo 105-8001 (JP)

(74)Representative: Moreland, David et al
Marks & Clerk LLP Aurora 120 Bothwell Street
Glasgow G2 7JS
Glasgow G2 7JS (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
JP-A- 05 240 805
JP-A- 2000 346 976
JP-A- 2007 333 639
US-A1- 2004 197 075
US-B1- 6 330 344
JP-A- 09 218 941
JP-A- 2003 187 223
US-A- 5 909 521
US-A1- 2007 019 887
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD



    [0001] The present invention relates to an appearance inspection apparatus and an appearance inspection method that use a TV camera.

    BACKGROUND ART



    [0002] Nuclear power plants are periodically inspected for the sake of maintaining safety and reliability of the plant structures and various devices. In particular, reactor internal structures are often inspected by indirect visual inspection using an underwater TV (television) camera or a TV camera accommodated in a watertight case. Among conventional examples of such an in-core visual inspection apparatus using an underwater TV camera is disclosed in Patent Document 1.

    [0003] The inspection method disclosed in Patent Document 1 is to immerse a remote-controllable TV camera into the reactor to shoot an inspection object, and the human inspector visually checks the picture of the TV camera which is output on a monitor. Simultaneously with the inspector's visual observation, the moving picture is recorded on video tapes, optical disks, or the like. If any defect is found in the inspection object, the inspector checks the recorded picture to create an inspection record on the defect.

    [0004] Patent Document 4 discloses a construction in which a plurality of sets of frame information are acquired from video information, rotation amount information that expresses the rotational deviation among the images expressed by the abovementioned plurality of sets of frame information is acquired on the basis of the acquired plurality of sets of frame information, conversion processing is performed in which at least one of the abovementioned plurality of sets of frame information is converted by rotating at least one of the respective images expressed by the plurality of sets of frame information on the basis of the acquired rotation amount information so that the rotational deviation among the images is reduced, and image data that expresses images in halftones using numerous pixels is produced by synthesizing a plurality of sets of frame information on which conversion processing has been performed.

    PATENT DOCUMENT 1: Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open Publication No. 2000-346976

    PATENT DOCUMENT 2: Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open Publication No. H 03-214978

    PATENT DOCUMENT 3: Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open Publication No. H 04-154292

    PATENT DOCUMENT 4: US Patent Application Publication US 2004/0197075


    DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION


    PROBLEMS TO BE SOLVED BY THE INVENTION



    [0005] When large-sized equipment such as a reactor internal structure is inspected by the foregoing inspection method, the image data in a TV camera on a plurality of locations or a wide area of the inspection object is recorded on video tapes or the like. The amount of data can be as enormous as several to several tens of video tapes etc. The inspectors who review the picture then need to search a plurality of video tapes for a. picture that records the location to be checked. There is thus a problem of poor working efficiency, requiring inspection man-hours.

    [0006] With the progress of data digitization in recent years, it has been attempted to record and store the picture into an optical disk or the like as a digital picture. Since the picture has an enormous amount of data, the picture data needs to be compressed by MPEG (Moving Picture Expert Group) or other methods. However, the picture compression methods that are currently prevalent are non-geometric, and thus cause degradation in information. In other words, there has been the problem that the compressed picture does not have brightness levels same as those of the picture yet to be compressed.

    [0007] To be specific, MPEG compresses image data in units of local blocks inside, and thus produces block noise. Since the picture is intended for inspection, there has been the problem that the compression of the image data with image degradation can lower the inspection quality.

    [0008] Representative still images alone may be recorded and stored. Replacing the information on the moving picture with still images selected from the moving picture, however, has had the problem that the decreased amount of information lowers the inspection quality as with the foregoing.

    [0009] The indirect visual inspection using TV cameras has also had the problem that small defects are difficult to be discovered and can possibly be missed if the TV camera does not have a sufficient pixel resolution with respect to the defects to be detected.

    [0010] Patent Documents 2 and 3 disclose technologies of moving an imaging device such as a TV camera by only a small amount to improve the substantial resolution by using the image data before and after the movement. However, since the technologies disclosed in these documents handle the relative position between the imaging device and the object as known information, the casing of the TV camera is required to be fixed to the object. Scanning the object with the TV camera also requires a mechanism that moves the casing of the TV camera precisely with respect to the object.

    [0011] The present invention has been achieved in view of the foregoing circumstances- It is thus an object thereof to provide an appearance inspection apparatus and an appearance inspection method that can generate a picture having a resolution higher than the pixel resolution of the TV camera itself to obtain an inspective image with improved defect visibility, and allow easily reviewing of the picture.

    MEANS FOR SOLVING THE PROBLEM



    [0012] In order to achieve the above-mentioned object, according to an aspect of the present invention, there is provided an appearance inspection apparatus according to claim 1.

    [0013] In an example, there is provided an appearance inspection apparatus comprising: an image capture unit that captures a picture of a TV camera as a digital image before and after the TV camera makes a relative scanning motion such that the TV camera moves relative to an inspection object; a camera motion measuring unit that measures the relative scanning motion of the TV camera; a high definition image generating unit that generates a high definition image having a pixel resolution higher than that of the TV camera based on a plurality of the digital images captured by the image capture unit and scanning motion data on the TV camera measured by the camera motion measuring unit; and a recording unit that records and stores position information on the inspection object.

    [0014] According to another example, there is provided an appearance inspection apparatus comprising: an image capture unit that captures a picture of a TV camera as a digital image before and after the TV camera makes a relative scanning motion such that the TV camera moves relative to an inspection object; a camera motion measuring unit that measures the relative scanning motion of the TV camera; a CAD recording unit that contains CAD data describing a shape of the inspection object; a high definition image generating unit that generates a high definition image having a pixel resolution higher than that of the TV camera based on a plurality of the digital images captured by the image capture unit and scanning motion data on the TV camera measured by the camera motion measuring unit; and a recording unit that records and stores position information on the inspection object.

    [0015] According to another example, there is provided an appearance inspection apparatus comprising: an, image capture unit that captures a picture of a TV camera as a digital image before and after the TV camera makes a relative scanning motion such that the TV camera moves relative to an inspection object; a position measuring unit that measures scanning motion data on the TV camera based on a position and direction of the TV camera; a recording unit that records the data measured by the position measuring unit; a CAD recording unit that contains CAD data describing a shape of the inspection object; a high definition image generating unit that generates a high definition image having a pixel resolution higher than that of the TV camera based on a plurality of the digital images captured by the image capture unit and the scanning motion data; a developed view generating unit that generates a developed view in which the inspection object is developed in the plane; and a recording unit that records and stores position information on the inspection object.

    [0016] According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided an appearance inspection method according to claim 10.

    [0017] In an example, there is provided an appearance inspection method comprising steps of shooting an inspection object with a TV camera while making the TV camera perform a relative scanning motion such that the TV camera moves relative to the inspection object; capturing a picture shot by the TV camera into an image capture unit as a digital image; measuring the scanning motion of the TV camera based on the image of the TV camera; generating a high definition image having a pixel resolution higher than that of the TV camera based on measurements of the scanning motion of the TV camera and. the digital image captured into the image capture unit; displaying the high definition image; and recording and storing position information on the inspection object.

    ADVANTAGES OF THE INVENTION



    [0018] According to the present invention, a picture having a resolution higher than the pixel resolution of the TV camera itself can be generated to obtain an inspective image with improved defect visibility. In addition, the picture can be reviewed easily.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0019] 

    FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a visual inspection apparatus (appearance inspection apparatus) according to a first example that is useful for the understanding of the present invention.

    FIG. 2 is an explanatory diagram showing a method of generating a high definition image according to the first example.

    FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a visual inspection apparatus according to a second example useful for the understanding of the present invention.

    FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a visual inspection apparatus according to a third example useful for the understanding of the present invention.

    FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a visual inspection apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

    FIG. 6 is a block diagram of a visual inspection apparatus according to a fourth example useful for the understanding of the present invention.

    FIG. 7 is a block diagram of a visual inspection apparatus according to a fifth example useful for the understanding of the present invention.


    EXPLANATION OF REFERENCE SYMBOLS



    [0020] 
    100:
    inspection object
    101:
    TV camera
    102:
    camera driving device
    104:
    camera motion measuring device
    105:
    image capture device
    106:
    high definition image generating device
    107:
    display device
    108:
    recording device
    300:
    drive control device
    301:
    CAD recording device
    400:
    position measuring device
    401:
    developed view generating device
    500:
    image selection device
    501:
    image enhancing device
    600:
    image processing device
    700:
    hanging tool

    BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION



    [0021] Hereinafter, embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.

    (First Example)



    [0022] FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing the configuration of a visual inspection apparatus (appearance inspection apparatus) according to a first example useful for understanding the present invention. An inspection object 100 may be a reactor pressure vessel or a reactor internal structure of a nuclear power plant such as a steam dryer, for example.

    [0023] As shown in FIG. 1, the visual inspection apparatus according to the first example includes: a TV camera 101 that shoots the inspection object 100; a camera driving device 102 on which the TV camera 101 is mounted for a scanning motion; an image capture device 105 that captures the picture of the TV camera 101 as a digital image; a camera motion measuring device 104 that measures the scanning motion of the TV camera 101; a high definition image generating device 106 that generates a high definition image having a pixel resolution higher than that of the TV camera 101; a display device 107 that displays the high definition image; and a recording device 108 that records the high definition image and position information of the inspection object 100 seen in the high definition image.

    [0024] Next, the operation of the visual inspection apparatus according to the first example will be described. The TV camera 101 shoots the inspection objects 100 while the camera driving device 102 makes the TV camera 101 perform a scanning motion finer than the pixels of the TV camera in two-dimensional X and Y directions with respect to the inspection object 100. The picture shot by the TV camera 101 is input to the image capture device 105 and captured as a digital image, which is transmitted to the camera motion measuring device 104 and the high definition image generating device 100.

    [0025] The camera motion measuring device 104 has an image processing function. The camera motion measuring devices 104 records images transmitted from the image capture device 105 in succession, and compares a previous image recorded and the latest image transmitted from the image capture device 105 to measure the scanning motion of the TV camera 101 in the images with precisions of sub-pixels smaller than a single pixel. In an example of the measuring method, the images are magnified to increase the pixel precisions of the images, and brightness correlation-based block matching is performed between the two images to measure the scanning motion from the positions of highest brightness correlation pixel by pixel.

    [0026] If the inspection object 100 has an uneven surface, the distance from the TV camera 101 to the inspection object 100 is not constant. The scanning motion therefore needs to be determined for each of the image pixels by block matching or other methods.

    [0027] The high definition image generating device 106 generates a high definition image having a pixel resolution higher than that of the TV camera 101 from the images transmitted from the image capture device 105 and scanning motion data which is the result of measurement by the camera motion measuring device 104.

    [0028] FIG. 2 shows an example of the method of generating a high definition image. Two consecutive images 200a and 200b of the image capture device 105 are taken into the high definition image generating device 106. A high definition image 202 in this example is set at a pixel resolution twice that of the images 200a and 200b. Suppose that a pixel 201a of the image 200a corresponds to the pixels at coordinates 1A, 2A, 1B, and 2B of the high definition image 202. The relative position of a pixel 201b of the image 200b with respect to the image 200a is calculated from the scanning motion data of the camera motion measuring device 104, and the coordinates of the pixel 201b in the high definition image 202 are calculated. In this example, the coordinates shall be 2B, 3B, 2C, and 3C.

    [0029] Next, the brightnesses of the high definition image 202 are calculated. In the example of FIG. 2, the coordinate 2B of the high definition image 202 is where the pixel 201a of the image 200a and the pixel 201b of the image 200b overlap each other. The brightness at the coordinates 2B of the high definition image 202 is estimated from the brightnesses of the pixel 201a and the pixel 201b. The brightness of each pixel of the high definition image 202 is thus estimated to generate a high definition image that has a pixel resolution higher than that of the TV camera.

    [0030] The high definition image generated by the high definition image generating device 106 is displayed on the display device 107. The recording device 108 records and stores the high definition image generated by the high definition image generating device 106 along with the position information on the inspection object that is seen in the high definition image. When the position of the inspection object 100 is specified, the recording device 108 can refer to a past high definition image of that position. The high definition image referred to is displayed on the display device 107.

    [0031] According to the first example, high definition images having a pixel resolution higher than that of the TV camera 101 can be generated and displayed on the display device 107, whereby defect visibility is increased for improved inspection quality. Converting the moving picture of the TV camera 101 into high definition images, which are still images, can suppress degradation in image quality and image information and reduce the data capacity, allowing improved economical efficiency as a data-storing system. Since the high definition images are recorded and stored with the position information, the inspector can easily review the inspection images of desired positions.

    (Second Example)



    [0032] FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing the configuration of a visual inspection apparatus according to a second example useful for understanding the present invention. In FIG. 3, identical or similar components to those of FIG. 1 will be designated by like reference numerals, and description thereof will be omitted. As compared to the first example shown in FIG. 1, the second example includes: a drive control device 300 which is added to the camera motion measuring device 104; and a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) recording device 301. The present example is predicated on that there is recorded existing CAD data that describes the shape of the inspection object, such as when the inspection object is designed and produced by using CAD.

    [0033] Next, the operation of the visual inspection apparatus according to the second example will be described. The drive control device 300 controls the camera, driving device 102 under predetermined settings or operator's operations so that the TV camera 101 makes a scanning motion. The CAD recording device 301 contains the CAD data that describes the shape of the inspection object. Based on control information of the drive control device 300 and the shape of the inspection object 100 recorded in the CAD recording device 301, the camera motion measuring device 104 measures the scanning motion of the TV camera 101 in the image with precisions of sub-pixels smaller than a single pixel, thereby obtaining scanning motion data. The recording device 108 records and stores the position of the inspection object 100 in terms of the coordinates on the CAD data recorded in the CAD recording device 301. When a position is specified on the CAD data, the recording device 108 can refer to a past high definition image of that position. The high definition image referred to is displayed on the display device 107 and presented to the inspector.

    [0034] According to the second example, the scanning motion of the TV camera 101 in the image is measured from the control information of the drive control device 300 and the shape of the inspection object 100 recorded in the CAD recording device 301. This eliminates the need for the camera motion measuring device 104 to have an image processing function. The determination of the scanning motion from the geometric position relationship also allows a high precision measurement. Storing and specifying in terms of the coordinates on the CAD data makes it possible for the inspector to review inspection images of desired positions in an intuitive manner easily.

    (Third Example)



    [0035] FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing the configuration of a visual inspection apparatus according to a third example useful for understanding the present invention. In FIG. 4, identical or similar components to those of FIG. 1 will be designated by like reference numerals, and description thereof will be omitted. As compared to the first example shown in FIG. 1, the third example additionally includes a position measuring device 400, a developed view generating device 401, and a CAD recording device 301.

    [0036] Next, the operation of the visual inspection apparatus according to the third example will be described. The position measuring device 400 measures the scanning motion data on the TV camera by measuring the position and direction of the TV camera 101 with the use of a GPS (Global Positioning System) or other method, and transmits the scanning motion data to the recording device 108. The recording device 108 converts the measurements transmitted from the position measuring device 400 into coordinates on the CAD data that is recorded in the CAD recording device 301, and records and stores the coordinates. The developed view generating device 401 generates a developed view in which the inspection object 100 is developed in a plane from the CAD data of the CAD recording device 301, and transmits the developed view to the recording device 108. The developed view refers to a diagram into which the inspection object 100 is developed flatly, for example, when the inspection object 100 has a cylindrical surface. The recording device 108 generates a composite image in which a high definition image is superimposed on the developed view that is generated from the recorded position information on the inspection object 100. The composite image is displayed on the display device 107 and presented to the inspector.

    [0037] According to the third example, the direction and position of the TV camera are measured by the position measuring device 400, so that the accurate position can be recorded and stored into the recording device automatically. In addition, since the composite image in which a high definition image is superimposed on the developed view generated by the developed view generating device 401 is presented to the inspector, it is possible to easily create a sketch of defects, grasp the defects in view of the entire inspection object, and so on.

    (First Embodiment)



    [0038] FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing the configuration of a visual inspection apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 5, identical or similar components to those of FIG. 1 will be designated by like reference numerals, and description thereof will be omitted. As compared to the first example shown in FIG. 1, the first embodiment includes: an image selection device 500 which is added to the image capture device 105; and an image enhancing device 501.

    [0039] Next, the operation of the visual inspection apparatus according to the first embodiment will be described. When the inspection object 100 is shot by the TV camera 101, the images can show sharp changes in brightness along the time axis when the ambient illumination or other environment is unstable. Moreover, if the scanning mechanism of the camera driving device 102 for producing the scanning motion of the TV camera 101 is unstable, the TV camera 101 can possibly make a sudden movement. If a high definition image is generated from the images of the TV camera 101 that are shot under such conditions, the quality of the high definition image will drop.

    [0040] The first embodiment is intended to obtain a high definition image of stable quality even under such conditions. The image selection device 500 evaluates the image captured by the image capture device 105 for brightness changes over time, and determines not to output the image to the high definition image generating device 106 if a sharp change occurs in brightness. Along with the evaluation of brightness changes, the measurements of the camera motion measuring device 104 may also be evaluated to provide the function of detecting the occurrence of a sudden scanning motion and determining whether or not to make an output.

    [0041] Another object of the present embodiment is to further improve the defect visibility. The image enhancing device 501 performs image processing pertaining to brightness enhancement such as edge enhancement on the high definition image. If there is any defect or the like, differences in brightness from the background become more noticeable, which improves the visibility of the defect.

    [0042] According to the first embodiment, the image selection device determines whether or not to output images, so that high definition images of stable quality can be obtained even under such conditions that the ambient illumination and the scanning motion of the TV camera are unstable. The image enhancing device can perform brightness enhancement for improved defect visibility.

    (Fourth Example)



    [0043] FIG. 6 is a block diagram showing the configuration of a visual inspection apparatus according to a fourth example useful for understanding the present invention. In FIG. 6, identical or similar components to those of FIG. 1 will be designated by like reference numerals, and description thereof will be omitted. As compared to the first example shown in FIG. 1, the fourth example additionally includes an image processing device 600.

    [0044] Next, the operation of the visual inspection apparatus according to the fourth example will be described. The image captured by the image capture device 105 is transmitted to the image processing device 600. The image processing device 600 performs image processing to detect candidate areas where defects are estimated to exist. The high definition image generating device 106 generates a high definition image when a candidate area of a defect is detected by the image processing device 600.

    [0045] According to the fourth example, the amount of calculation for generating high definition images can be reduced to allow implementation with a low-priced computer for improved system economical efficiency. The amount of data to be stored and recorded can also be reduced for improved system economical efficiency.

    (Fifth Example)



    [0046] FIG. 7 is a block diagram showing the configuration of a visual inspection apparatus according to a fifth example useful for understanding the present invention. FIG. 7 shows the TV camera 101 to the image capture device 105. The rest of the configuration is the same as in FIG. 1. As compared to the first example shown in FIG. 1, the fifth example includes a hanging tool 700 for hanging and supporting the TV camera instead of the camera driving device 102.

    [0047] Next, the operation of the visual inspection apparatus according to the fifth example will be described. The TV camera 101 is supported by a hanging tool 700 which is made of, for example, a hanging rod or the like attached to the top of the TV camera 101. An end of the hanging tool 700 opposite from the TV camera 101 is manipulated by the inspector or others so that the TV camera 101 makes a scanning motion over the inspection object 100.

    [0048] According to the fifth example, the same effects as those of the first example can be obtained even with a jig that simply supports the TV camera, without the use of such machinery or mechanism as the camera driving device.

    [0049] In a modification of the fifth example, the hanging tool 700 may be omitted and an inspector may hold the TV camera 101 by hand and manually scan with the TV camera 101. In such a case, the scanning need not necessarily be performed intentionally since camera shakes in effect accomplish the same action as scanning and can thus be utilized for the same purpose.

    (Other Embodiments)



    [0050] The foregoing examples and embodiments have been described solely by way of example, and the present invention is not limited thereto. For example, the features of the foregoing examples and embodiments may be combined to form further emboidments. For example, while the fifth example introduces the hanging tool 700 by modifying the first example in part, the hanging tool 700 may be combined with the second to fourth examples or with the first embodiment.

    [0051] The foregoing examples and embodiments have dealt with the cases where the inspection object 100 is a reactor internal structure of a nuclear power plant. The inspection object 100 is not limited thereto, however.

    [0052] While the foregoing examples and embodiments have dealt with the cases of driving the TV camera 101, it is only essential that the TV camera 101 and the inspection object 100 make a relative movement therebetween. The TV camera 101 may thus be fixed while the inspection object 100 is driven.

    [0053] In the foregoing examples and embodiments, the camera motion measuring device 104, the image capture device 105, the high definition image generating device 106, the display device 107, the recording device 108, the drive control device 300, the CAD recording device 301, the position measuring device 400, the developed view generating device 401, the image selection device 500, the image enhancing device 501, and the image processing device 600 have been described as "devices." These components need not necessarily be independent devices, however, and may be implemented by using one or a plurality of computers having such functions or using some of functions of a data processing apparatus.


    Claims

    1. An appearance inspection apparatus comprising:

    an image capture unit (105) configured to capture a picture from a TV camera (101) as a digital image before and after the TV camera (101) makes a relative scanning motion finer than pixels of the TV camera (101) such that the TV camera (101) moves relative to an inspection object (100);

    a camera motion measuring unit (104) that is configured to measure the relative scanning motion of the TV camera (101) in the images with precisions of sub-pixels smaller than a single pixel;

    a high definition image generating unit (106) configured to generate a high definition image having a pixel resolution higher than that of the TV camera (101) based on a plurality of the digital images captured by the image capture unit (105) and scanning motion data on the TV camera (101) measured by the camera motion measuring unit (104); and

    a recording unit (108) that is configured to record and store position information of the inspection object (100),

    wherein the TV camera (101) is configured to shoot the inspection object (100),

    characterized in that:
    the apparatus further comprises either:

    a driving device (102) that is configured to drive the TV camera (101) so that the TV camera (101) makes the relative scanning motion, or a hanging tool (700) for hanging the TV camera (101) for an inspector to manipulate the TV camera (101) to make the relative scanning motion, and

    the image capture unit (105) includes an image selection unit (500) that is configured to evaluate change of brightness of a captured image of the picture from the TV camera (101) over time and to determine to output the captured image of the picture from the TV camera (101) to the high definition image generating unit (106) only when the evaluated change of brightness is not sharp.


     
    2. The appearance inspection apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a display unit (107) that displays the high definition image.
     
    3. The appearance inspection apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the camera motion measuring unit (104) has an image processing means for measuring the relative scanning motion of the TV camera (101) based on an output image of the image capture unit (105).
     
    4. The appearance inspection apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 3, when the apparatus comprises the driving device (102), the apparatus further comprising:
    a CAD recording unit (301) that contains CAD data describing a shape of the inspection object (100).
     
    5. The appearance inspection apparatus according to claim 4, wherein the recording unit (108) is configured to record and store a position of the inspection object (100) seen in the high definition image in terms of coordinates on the CAD data of the CAD recording unit (301), and wherein the camera motion measuring unit (104) includes a drive control unit (300) for controlling the driving device (102), and measures the scanning motion of the TV camera (101) based on control information of the drive control unit (300) and the shape of the inspection object described by the CAD data of the CAD recording unit (301), wherein when a position is specified on the CAD data, the recording unit (108) is configured to refer to a past high definition image of the position of the inspection object (100).
     
    6. The appearance inspection apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 3, further comprising:

    a position measuring unit (400) that measures scanning motion data on the TV camera (101) based on a position and direction of the TV camera (101);

    a CAD recording unit (301) that contains CAD data describing a shape of the inspection object (100); and

    a developed view generating unit (401) that generates a developed view in which the inspection object (100) is developed in the plane.


     
    7. The appearance inspection apparatus according to claim 6, wherein
    the developed view generating unit (401) generates the developed view of the inspection object (100) based on the CAD data of the CAD recording unit (301); and
    the recording unit (108) is configured to receive the scanning motion data from the position measuring unit (400) and is configured to covert the data into coordinates on the CAD data that is recorded in the CAD recording device (301) and the recording unit (108) is further configured to receive the developed view from the developed view generating unit (401) and is configured to generate a composite image in which the high definition image is superimposed on the developed view.
     
    8. The appearance inspection apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 7, comprising an image enhancing unit (501) that performs brightness enhancing processing on the high definition image generated by the high definition image generating unit (106).
     
    9. The appearance inspection apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 7, comprising an image processing unit (600) that detects a candidate area of a defect based on the picture from the TV camera (101), wherein the high definition image generating unit (106) generates the high definition image when the defect candidate area is detected by the image processing unit (600).
     
    10. An appearance inspection method comprising steps of:

    shooting an inspection object (100) with a TV camera (101) while making the TV camera (101) perform a relative scanning motion finer than pixels of the TV camera (101) such that the TV camera (101) moves relative to the inspection object (100);

    capturing a picture shot by the TV camera (101) into an image capture unit (105) as a digital image;

    measuring the scanning motion of the TV camera (101) based on the image of the TV camera (101) in the images with precisions of sub-pixels smaller than a single pixel;

    generating, at a high definition image generating unit (106), a high definition image having a pixel resolution higher than that of the TV camera (101) based on measurements of the scanning motion of the TV camera (101) and the digital image captured into the image capture unit (105);

    displaying the high definition image; and

    recording and storing position information of the inspection object (100) characterized in that:
    the method further comprises the steps of either:

    driving the TV camera (101) by a driving device (102) so that the TV camera (101) makes the relative scanning motion, or hanging the TV camera (101) by a hanging tool (700) for an inspector to manipulate the TV camera (101) to make the relative scanning motion, and

    evaluating in an image selection unit (500) in the image capture unit (105) a change of brightness of a captured image of the picture from the TV camera (101) over time; and

    determining in the image selection unit (500) in the image capture unit (105) to output the captured image of the picture from the TV camera (101) to the high definition image generating unit (106) only when the evaluated change of brightness is not sharp.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Erscheinungsbild-Inspektionsvorrichtung, umfassend:

    eine Bildaufnahmeeinheit (105), die dafür konfiguriert ist, ein Bild von einer Fernsehkamera (101) als ein digitales Bild aufzunehmen, bevor und nachdem die Fernsehkamera (101) eine relative Abtastbewegung, die feiner als Pixel der Fernsehkamera (101) ist, so vollzieht, dass die Fernsehkamera (101) sich relativ zu einem Inspektionsobjekt (100) bewegt;

    eine Kamerabewegungsmesseinheit (104), die dafür konfiguriert ist, die relative Abtastbewegung der Fernsehkamera (101) in den Bildern mit Genauigkeiten von Sub-Pixeln, die kleiner als ein einzelnes Pixel sind, zu messen;

    eine Einheit (106) zur Erzeugung eines hochauflösenden Bildes, die dafür konfiguriert ist, ein hochauflösendes Bild mit einer höheren Pixelauflösung als jene der Fernsehkamera (101) zu erzeugen, und zwar auf der Grundlage einer Vielzahl der digitalen Bilder, die durch die Bildaufnahmeeinheit (105) aufgenommen wurden, und von Abtastbewegungsdaten über die Fernsehkamera (101), die durch die Kamerabewegungsmesseinheit (104) gemessen wurden; und

    eine Aufzeichnungseinheit (108), die dafür konfiguriert ist, Positionsinformationen des Inspektionsobjekts (100) aufzuzeichnen und zu speichern,

    worin die Fernsehkamera (101) dafür konfiguriert ist, das Inspektionsobjekt (100) zu filmen,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet:
    dass die Vorrichtung ferner entweder umfasst:

    eine Antriebsvorrichtung (102), die dafür konfiguriert ist, die Fernsehkamera (101) so anzutreiben, dass die Fernsehkamera (101) die relative Abtastbewegung vollzieht, oder ein Aufhängewerkzeug (700) zum Aufhängen der Fernsehkamera (101), damit ein Inspektor die Fernsehkamera (101) manipuliert, um die relative Abtastbewegung zu vollziehen, und

    dass die Bildaufnahmeeinheit (105) eine Bildauswahleinheit (500) einschließt, die dafür konfiguriert ist, eine Helligkeitsänderung einer Aufnahme des Bildes von der Fernsehkamera (101) über der Zeit auszuwerten und zu bestimmen, die Aufnahme des Bildes von der Fernsehkamera (101) nur dann an die Einheit (106) zur Erzeugung eines hochauflösenden Bildes auszugeben, wenn die ausgewertete Helligkeitsänderung nicht scharf ist.


     
    2. Erscheinungsbild-Inspektionsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, ferner eine Anzeigeeinheit (107) umfassend, die das hochauflösende Bild anzeigt.
     
    3. Erscheinungsbild-Inspektionsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, worin die Kamerabewegungsmesseinheit (104) Bildverarbeitungsmittel zum Messen der relativen Abtastbewegung der Fernsehkamera (101) auf der Grundlage eines ausgegebenen Bildes der Bildaufnahmeeinheit (105) aufweist.
     
    4. Erscheinungsbild-Inspektionsvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wenn die Vorrichtung die Antriebsvorrichtung (102) umfasst, wobei die Vorrichtung ferner umfasst:
    eine CAD-Aufzeichnungseinheit (301), die CAD-Daten enthält, welche eine Form des Inspektionsobjekts (100) beschreiben.
     
    5. Erscheinungsbild-Inspektionsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 4, worin die Aufzeichnungseinheit (108) dafür konfiguriert ist, eine Position des in dem hochauflösenden Bild zu sehenden Inspektionsobjekts (100) in Form von Koordinaten auf den CAD-Daten der CAD-Aufzeichnungseinheit (301) aufzuzeichnen und zu speichern, und worin die Kamerabewegungsmesseinheit (104) eine Antriebssteuerungseinheit (300) zum Steuern der Antriebsvorrichtung (102) einschließt und die Abtastbewegung der Fernsehkamera (101) auf der Grundlage von Steuerungsinformation der Antriebssteuerungseinheit (300) und der Form des durch die CAD-Daten der CAD-Aufzeichnungseinheit (301) beschriebenen Inspektionsobjekts misst, worin die Aufzeichnungseinheit (108) dafür konfiguriert ist, sich auf ein vergangenes hochauflösendes Bild der Position des Inspektionsobjekts (100) zu beziehen, wenn eine Position auf den CAD-Daten angegeben wird.
     
    6. Die Erscheinungsbild-Inspektionsvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, ferner umfassend:

    eine Positionsmesseinheit (400), die Abtastbewegungsdaten über die Fernsehkamera (101) auf der Grundlage einer Position und Richtung der Fernsehkamera (101) misst;

    eine CAD-Aufzeichnungseinheit (301), die CAD-Daten enthält, welche eine Form des Inspektionsobjekts (100) beschreiben; und

    eine Abwicklungserzeugungseinheit (401), die eine Abwicklung erzeugt, in der das Inspektionsobjekt (100) in der Ebene abgewickelt wird.


     
    7. Erscheinungsbild-Inspektionsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 6, worin
    die Abwicklungserzeugungseinheit (401) die Abwicklung des Inspektionsobjekts (100) auf der Grundlage der CAD-Daten der CAD-Aufnahmeeinheit (301) erzeugt; und
    die Aufzeichnungseinheit (108) dafür konfiguriert ist, die Abtastbewegungsdaten von der Positionsmesseinheit (400) zu empfangen, und dafür konfiguriert ist, die Daten in Koordinaten auf den in der CAD-Aufzeichnungsvorrichtung (301) aufgezeichneten CAD-Daten zu konvertieren, und die Aufzeichnungseinheit (108) ferner dafür konfiguriert ist, die Abwicklung von der Abwicklungserzeugungseinheit (401) zu empfangen, und dafür konfiguriert ist, ein zusammengesetztes Bild zu erzeugen, in dem das hochauflösende Bild der Abwicklung überlagert ist.
     
    8. Erscheinungsbild-Inspektionsvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, eine Bildverbesserungseinheit (501) umfassend, die eine Helligkeitsverbesserungsverarbeitung an dem hochauflösenden Bild durchführt, das durch die Einheit (106) zur Erzeugung eines hochauflösenden Bildes erzeugt wurde.
     
    9. Erscheinungsbild-Inspektionsvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, eine Bildverarbeitungseinheit (600) umfassend, die auf der Grundlage des Bildes von der Fernsehkamera (101) einen Kandidatenbereich eines Fehlers ermittelt, worin die Einheit (106) zur Erzeugung eines hochauflösenden Bildes das hochauflösende Bild erzeugt, wenn der Fehlerkandidatenbereich durch die Bildverarbeitungseinheit (600) ermittelt wird.
     
    10. Erscheinungsbild-Inspektionsverfahren, die Schritte umfassend:

    Filmen eines Inspektionsobjekts (100) mit einer Fernsehkamera (101), während die Fernsehkamera (101) veranlasst wird, eine relative Abtastbewegung, die feiner als Pixel der Fernsehkamera (101) ist, so zu vollziehen, dass die Fernsehkamera (101) sich relativ zum Inspektionsobjekt (100) bewegt;

    Aufnehmen eines durch die Fernsehkamera (101) gefilmten Bildes als digitales Bild in eine Bildaufnahmeeinheit (105);

    Messen der Abtastbewegung der Fernsehkamera (101) auf der Grundlage des Bildes der Fernsehkamera (101) in den Bildern mit Genauigkeiten von Sub-Pixeln, die kleiner als ein einzelnes Pixel sind;

    in einer Einheit (106) zur Erzeugung eines hochauflösenden Bildes erfolgendes Erzeugen eines hochauflösenden Bildes mit einer höheren Pixelauflösung als jene der Fernsehkamera (101), und zwar auf der Grundlage von Messungen der Abtastbewegung der Fernsehkamera (101) und dem in die Bildaufnahmeeinheit (105) aufgenommenen digitalen Bild;

    Anzeigen des hochauflösenden Bildes; und

    Aufzeichnen und Speichern von Positionsinformationen des Inspektionsobjekts (100),

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass:

    das Verfahren ferner folgende Schritte umfasst: entweder

    Antreiben der Fernsehkamera (101) durch eine Antriebsvorrichtung (102), sodass die Fernsehkamera (101) die relative Abtastbewegung vollzieht, oder Aufhängen der Fernsehkamera (101) durch ein Aufhängewerkzeug (700), damit ein Inspektor die Fernsehkamera (101) manipuliert, um die relative Abtastbewegung zu vollziehen, und

    in einer Bildauswahleinheit (500) in der Bildaufnahmeeinheit (105) erfolgendes Auswerten einer Helligkeitsänderung einer Aufnahme des Bildes von der Fernsehkamera (101) über der Zeit; und

    in der Bildauswahleinheit (500) in der Bildaufnahmeeinheit (105) erfolgendes Bestimmen, die Aufnahme des Bildes von der Fernsehkamera (101) nur dann an die Einheit (106) zur Erzeugung eines hochauflösenden Bildes auszugeben, wenn die ausgewertete Helligkeitsänderung nicht scharf ist.


     


    Revendications

    1. Appareil d'inspection d'aspect comprenant :

    une unité de capture d'image (105) qui est configurée pour capturer une image en provenance d'une caméra de TV (101) en tant qu'image numérique avant et après que la caméra de TV (101) réalise un mouvement de balayage relatif qui est plus fin que des pixels de la caméra de TV (101) de telle sorte que la caméra de TV (101) se déplace par rapport à un objet d'inspection (100) ;

    une unité de mesure de mouvement de caméra (104) qui est configurée pour mesurer le mouvement de balayage relatif de la caméra de TV (101) dans les images selon des précisions de sous-pixels qui sont plus petits qu'un unique pixel ;

    une unité de génération d'image haute définition (106) qui est configurée pour générer une image haute définition qui présente une résolution en termes de pixels supérieure à celle de la caméra de TV (101) sur la base d'une pluralité des images numériques qui sont capturées par l'unité de capture d'image (105) et de données de mouvement de balayage sur la caméra de TV (101) qui sont mesurées par l'unité de mesure de mouvement de caméra (104) ; et

    une unité d'enregistrement (108) qui est configurée pour enregistrer et stocker des informations de position de l'objet d'inspection (100),

    dans lequel la caméra de TV (101) est configurée pour filmer l'objet d'inspection (100),

    caractérisé en ce que :
    l'appareil comprend en outre l'un ou l'autre de :

    un dispositif de pilotage (102) qui est configuré pour piloter la caméra de TV (101) de telle sorte que la caméra de TV (101) réalise le mouvement de balayage relatif, ou un outil de suspension (700) pour suspendre la caméra de TV (101) pour qu'un inspecteur manipule la caméra de TV (101) pour réaliser le mouvement de balayage relatif, et

    l'unité de capture d'image (105) inclut une unité de sélection d'image (500) qui est configurée pour évaluer la variation de luminosité d'une image capturée de l'image en provenance de la caméra de TV (101) au fil du temps et pour déterminer qu'il convient d'émettre en sortie l'image capturée de l'image en provenance de la caméra de TV (101) sur l'unité de génération d'image haute définition (106) seulement lorsque la variation de luminosité évaluée n'est pas forte.


     
    2. Appareil d'inspection d'aspect selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre une unité d'affichage (107) qui affiche l'image haute définition.
     
    3. Appareil d'inspection d'aspect selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'unité de mesure de mouvement de caméra (104) comporte un moyen de traitement d'image pour mesurer le mouvement de balayage relatif de la caméra de TV (101) sur la base d'une image de sortie de l'unité de capture d'image (105).
     
    4. Appareil d'inspection d'aspect selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, dans lequel, lorsque l'appareil comprend le dispositif de pilotage (102), l'appareil comprenant en outre :
    une unité d'enregistrement de conception assistée par ordinateur (CAD) (301) qui contient des données de CAD qui décrivent une forme de l'objet d'inspection (100).
     
    5. Appareil d'inspection d'aspect selon la revendication 4, dans lequel l'unité d'enregistrement (108) est configurée pour enregistrer et stocker une position de l'objet d'inspection (100) qui est vu dans l'image haute définition en termes de coordonnées sur les données de CAD de l'unité d'enregistrement de CAD (301), et dans lequel l'unité de mesure de mouvement de caméra (104) inclut une unité de commande de pilotage (300) pour commander le dispositif de pilotage (102) et elle mesure le mouvement de balayage de la caméra de TV (101) sur la base d'une information de commande de l'unité de commande de pilotage (300) et de la forme de l'objet d'inspection qui est décrit au moyen des données de CAD de l'unité d'enregistrement de CAD (301), dans lequel, lorsqu'une position est spécifiée sur les données de CAD, l'unité d'enregistrement (108) est configurée pour se référer à une image haute définition passée de la position de l'objet d'inspection (100).
     
    6. Appareil d'inspection d'aspect selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, comprenant en outre :

    une unité de mesure de position (400) qui mesure des données de mouvement de balayage sur la caméra de TV (101) sur la base d'une position et d'une direction de la caméra de TV (101) ;

    une unité d'enregistrement de CAD (301) qui contient des données de CAD qui décrivent une forme de l'objet d'inspection (100) ; et

    une unité de génération de vue développée (401) qui génère une vue développée selon laquelle l'objet d'inspection (100) est développé dans le plan.


     
    7. Appareil d'inspection d'aspect selon la revendication 6, dans lequel :

    l'unité de génération de vue développée (401) génère la vue développée de l'objet d'inspection (100) sur la base des données de CAD de l'unité d'enregistrement de CAD (301) ; et

    l'unité d'enregistrement (108) est configurée pour recevoir les données de mouvement de balayage en provenance de l'unité de mesure de position (400) et est configurée pour convertir les données en coordonnées sur les données de CAD qui sont enregistrées dans le dispositif d'enregistrement de CAD (301) et l'unité d'enregistrement (108) est en outre configurée pour recevoir la vue développée en provenance de l'unité de génération de vue développée (401) et est configurée pour générer une image composite dans laquelle l'image haute définition est superposée sur la vue développée.


     
    8. Appareil d'inspection d'aspect selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, comprenant une unité d'amélioration d'image (501) qui réalise un traitement d'amélioration de luminosité sur l'image haute définition qui est générée par l'unité de génération d'image haute définition (106).
     
    9. Appareil d'inspection d'aspect selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, comprenant une unité de traitement d'image (600) qui détecte une zone candidate d'un défaut sur la base de l'image en provenance de la caméra de TV (101), dans lequel l'unité de génération d'image haute définition (106) génère l'image haute définition lorsque la zone candidate présentant un défaut est détectée par l'unité de traitement d'image (600).
     
    10. Procédé d'inspection d'aspect comprenant les étapes constituées par :

    le fait de filmer un objet d'inspection (100) à l'aide d'une caméra de TV (101) tout en faisant en sorte que la caméra de TV (101) réalise un mouvement de balayage relatif qui est plus fin que des pixels de la caméra de TV (101) de telle sorte que la caméra de TV (101) se déplace par rapport à l'objet d'inspection (100) ;

    la capture d'une image filmée par la caméra de TV (101) à l'intérieur d'une unité de capture d'image (105) en tant qu'image numérique ;

    la mesure du mouvement de balayage de la caméra de TV (101) sur la base de l'image de la caméra de TV (101) dans les images selon des précisions de sous-pixels qui sont plus petits qu'un unique pixel ;

    la génération, au niveau d'une unité de génération d'image haute définition (106), d'une image haute définition qui présente une résolution en termes de pixels qui est supérieure à celle de la caméra de TV (101) sur la base de mesures du mouvement de balayage de la caméra de TV (101) et de l'image numérique qui est capturée à l'intérieur de l'unité de capture d'image (105) ;

    l'affichage de l'image haute définition ; et

    l'enregistrement et le stockage d'informations de position de l'objet d'inspection (100) :
    caractérisé en ce que :
    le procédé comprend en outre les étapes de l'un ou l'autre de :

    le pilotage de la caméra de TV (101) par un dispositif de pilotage (102) de telle sorte que la caméra de TV (101) réalise le mouvement de balayage relatif, ou la suspension de la caméra de TV (101) au moyen d'un outil de suspension (700) pour qu'un inspecteur manipule la caméra de TV (101) pour réaliser le mouvement de balayage relatif ; et

    l'évaluation, dans une unité de sélection d'image (500) dans l'unité de capture d'image (105), d'une variation de luminosité d'une image capturée de l'image en provenance de la caméra de TV (101) au fil du temps ; et

    la détermination, dans l'unité de sélection d'image (500) dans l'unité de capture d'image (105) du fait qu'il convient d'émettre en sortie l'image capturée de l'image en provenance de la caméra de TV (101) sur l'unité de génération d'image haute définition (106) seulement lorsque la variation de luminosité évaluée n'est pas forte.


     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description