The Mantis Vision F5 System.
SURVICE employee Rob Baltrusch fully experienced the concept of working "off-site" when he traveled to Afghanistan for a two-week excursion. Baltrusch's mission was to collect high-resolution 3-D scan data on a ground vehicle damaged from an Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). SURVICE caught up with Rob after his travels to get an inside perspective on the trials and tribulations of working over-seas.
With over 40 hours of travel under his belt Baltrusch touched down in Bagram, Afghanistan to begin his critical data collection mission in late February of 2012. Baltrusch's work involved the measurement of a vehicle IED event. "We were looking to capture 3-D information to support detailed scientific analysis of the damaged vehicle," said Baltrusch, "We collected measurements of the maximum deflection of the steel armor as well as volume calculations that indicate the amount of energy imparted to the structure." These measurements give research scientists completing the engineering analysis a better indication of the IED characteristics.
In order to capture such detailed measurements Baltrusch utilized a number of cutting edge tools. "The FARO Arm is an articulated arm with encoders located in its joints and a laser scanner at the end of the arm," explains Baltrusch. The encoders and laser scanner allow the FARO Arm to take measurements akin to 3-D spray paint creating a highly detailed image for analysis. Baltrusch and team also employed the Mantis Vision F5 System, a technology so new that Baltrusch was using serial number 001 off of the production line. "This system uses a camera and a projector," said Baltrusch, "it sprays a structured light and has a video feed which creates a 3D point cloud video."
The task at hand was both interesting and important to Baltrusch, although it came with its own unique intricacies. "The days were long," explains Baltrusch, "there was a big push to get the task done in time. We would start work at 7 AM, work straight until 7 or 8 PM and then head back to the barracks to complete our reports."
Obstacles aside, Baltrusch kept his eye on the proverbial prize. "The biggest benefit of working on this mission over-seas was that we were able to brief out all of the boots on the ground troops," Baltrusch explains, "that was the whole point of doing the work on-site - so we could complete the task efficiently and effectively in support of the troops."