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Analyzing Physical Impacts Using Transient Surface Wave Imaging

Tianyuan Zhang · Mark Sheinin · Dorian Chan · Mark Rau · Matthew O’Toole · Srinivasa G. Narasimhan

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 020


The subtle vibrations on an object’s surface contain information about the object’s physical properties and its interaction with the environment. Prior works imaged surface vibration to recover the object’s material properties via modal analysis, which discards the transient vibrations propagating immediately after the object is disturbed. Conversely, prior works that captured transient vibrations focused on recovering localized signals (e.g., recording nearby sound sources), neglecting the spatiotemporal relationship between vibrations at different object points. In this paper, we extract information from the transient surface vibrations simultaneously measured at a sparse set of object points using the dual-shutter camera described by Sheinin[31]. We model the geometry of an elastic wave generated shortly after an object’s surface is disturbed (e.g., a knock or a footstep), and use the model to localize the disturbance source for various materials (e.g., wood, plastic, tile). We also show that transient object vibrations contain additional cues about the impact force and the impacting object’s material properties. We demonstrate our approach in applications like localizing the strikes of a ping-pong ball on a table mid-play and recovering the footsteps’ locations by imaging the floor vibrations they create.

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