This paper presents a three-dimensional shape-reconstruction system that employs an ultrasonic distance sensor placed on a manipulator. This system can not only reconstruct the shape of an object, but it can also precisely assess the distance from the manipulator to the object. By employing the freedom of the manipulator, the system can measure an object with the sensor in any position and orientation, and can then numerically reconstruct object images using measured data. Experimental results show that the newly developed system and method make object shape reconstruction easy and inexpensive. They also show that the three-dimensional object data obtained by this method can be used in manipulator control.

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