Determining Surface Temperatures through 3D Radiometry

Technology #15112

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Professor Sanjay Sarma
Office of the Provost, Director of Digital Learning
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Long Phan
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Johnathan Jesneck
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Managed By
Daniel Dardani
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

3D Radiometry

US Patent 8,818,079


This technology has applications in thermal imaging, especially in determining precise surface temperature of complex objects with varying materials and distances (e.g. buildings).

Problem Addressed

Thermographic cameras detect infrared emissions from objects, and determine their temperature based on the amount of emitted radiation. In 2D radiometry today, many assumptions are made regarding the angles formed by the emitting and receiving surfaces when calculating the radiation heat transfer. These assumptions cause large variations and errors when the surface includes complex shapes and non-normal viewing angles.


This invention describes a novel method for determining accurate surface temperature maps of complex objects using 3D analysis. This is accomplished by building a solid model of the target object by using 3D image reconstruction techniques based on 2D imaging, and then using the 3D model to extract – where possible – or estimate the parameters required to calculate the surface temperature more accurately. The variances in estimation are reduced by incorporating the location information of the thermal imager.


  • Works with objects of complex shapes and angles
  • Works with objects where distances from the imager vary significantly
  • Works with objects of different materials.