This paper deals with an optical sensor designed to automatically measure a sculptured surface geometry. The sensor can continuously and simultaneously detect a position vector (a gap distance) and a unit normal vector (an inclination angle) of a point to be measured without touching. In this paper, the principle of detecting a gap distance and an inclination angle is clarified, and the feasibility of the principle is tested by simulation and by a physical prototype. Developing a primitive prototype, the detectable range of a gap distance and surface inclination are evaluated by experiments. While performing the simulations and the experiments, it became clear that the sensor has a measured range of 20 mm for detecting a gap distance and a measured range from −70 to 70 degrees for detecting an inclination angle with regard to a diffuse surface.

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