I have a line sensor with a $n$ number of detector elements, pixels. This line sensor should be used to capture data while moving so that later from the captured data images can be generated. The sensor is moved vertically when the line is horizontally so that with both axes data is captured.

Now to accurately generate an image with the line sensor data, what possibilities are there for sensors to be used? I was looking at MEMS sensors specifically accelerometers and magnetometers to capture some reference data. But for generating images, either the position or velocity of the sensor at specific time points is needed and accelerometer data would need to be (double) integrated - resulting in integration error. Or is there any other way to use the acceleration data?

Are there any other sensor types that can be used and don't need to interact with the environment - meaning like a wheel for capturing the velocity the line sensor is moving (when moving over hard surfaces). Looking for a resolution of 1mm... Any suggestions?

Edit: To specify, the system is housed in an enclosed case and not able to interact with its surrounding. Rather than moving something the system is moved. Like on a driving robot.

  • $\begingroup$ What is the distance between the sensor and the object? Maybe you could use a laser velocity sensor like those in a computer mouse. $\endgroup$
    – Rainer P.
    Commented Jun 16, 2023 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


I mean, every 40€ inkjet printer has way higher accuracy than 1mm. You didn't mention over which total distance the accuracy of 1mm would be needed, but this doesn't sound like a challenge at all for standard methods:

Even an open-loop belt-driven actuator should achieve that. But if you need more accuracy, linear optical encoding is (far as I can tell) a cheap and easy way. Have a transparent strip with a perpendicular regular strip pattern printed on it, and use a forked light barrier to count the stripes you pass. An overhead projector transparency and a home laser printer plus a cutter knife would be a good start here.

  • $\begingroup$ Fair point, but the imaging system is not intended to interact with its surrounding. Like a camera mounted on a driving robot. So using a motor/stepper will be a hard thing to implement. The distance could range from a few cm to hundreds of meter. $\endgroup$
    – ulix
    Commented May 16, 2023 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ Ah if you can't do that, then is triangulation from multiple points an option? $\endgroup$ Commented May 17, 2023 at 8:10

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