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SLS or XLS Cameras: What’s the difference between them?

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

The term "SLS" stands for Structured Light Sensor, which is a type of depth-sensing technology used in a variety of industries, like in 3D scanning and robotics.

The SLS camera uses a Kinect sensor. The Kinect sensor was first developed by Microsoft for the Xbox. Microsoft has since stopped making the Xbox Kinect devices but has not stopped developing the sensor. It's now developed as the Azure Kinect and sold as a development kit. The SLS nor XLS detects EMF in any form.

Fig. 1 Azure Kinect

The software alone is a breakthrough. Developers gathered large amounts of data from motion-capture of moving things in real-life. Then, they used a special artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to model people.

Today, this AI is not stored in the Kinect. It's not in the Xbox, either. Instead, it was used to generate the software to run them. Think of the AI as the Kinect’s brain. Along with determining shapes, it also has to determine distance. To do this, it uses a few sensors and analyzes the data around 30 times per second or 30Hz.

The Kinect uses three pieces to detect motion and create the skeleton on the screen:

  1. A VGA camera

  2. A depth sensor

  3. And a multi-array microphone

The tech specs: The camera detects red, green, and blue colors. It also detects bodies and facial features. The pixel resolution is 640x480 with a frame rate of 30 fps. The depth sensor has a monochrome CMOS sensor and infrared projector that creates the 3D imagery in the room. It measures the distance by measuring the IR “time of flight” after if reflects off an object. The microphone is an array of four microphones that can isolate voices from background noise. These components are used to track 48 points on a body 30 times per second.

Fig. 2 Kinect Sensor

What's the Kinect sensor used for today?

Matching the hardware and software allows the Kinect to generate 3D images and recognize human beings within its field-of-vision.

There are many possible applications with the Kinect besides just video games, too. Paranormal investigators now use this device to find ghosts or see what the human eye cannot.

Engineering level sensors like these is either too expensive or made cheap and unreliable. Laser arrays are expensive and cumbersome and only map in two dimensions. A stereo camera is small but requires immense computing power. The Kinect is the lowest cost alternative to engineering or laboratory level sensors.

The Kinect is a sensor on its own, too. It captures about 9 million data points per second. The problem is that these types of scanning tools, also known as LIDAR, are bulky, and the lasers used to measure distances can only measure one point of data at a time.

A lab-level system could cost over $10,000, but the Kinect can be purchased for around $120. It doesn't measure miles away like the lab-level equipment, but it measures dependably up to a distance of 16 feet.

How about the XLS?

The XLS claims to use LIDAR (the same long-distance laser tech as the lab-level systems), however this is false. The truth is that an XLS camera is the same as an Xbox One Kinect camera. Neither uses true LIDAR. What they are using is a substitute for LIDAR: the Kinect sensors (Structured Light Sensor).

How does LIDAR work?

For the lab-level equipment, LIDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. It uses a spinning laser to scan the room. Other han being extremely costly, it's also a cumbersome device and requires special training to use. LIDAR requires an onboard computer with massive computing power to analyze the data in real time.

Remember, laser light is highly focused and has a narrow beam, while dispersed light is not focused and spreads out in all directions. This gives the SLS and XLS cameras an advantage, especially in paranormal investigation, because both use dispersed light.

  • Laser light is a type of light that is highly concentrated, focused and has a very narrow beam. It is produced by a device called a laser, which emits coherent light through the process of stimulated emission. The light produced by a laser is monochromatic, meaning it has only one wavelength and is typically of a single color (e.g., green, blue, red). Laser light is used in a variety of applications such as in surgery, communication systems, barcode scanners, and many other scientific and industrial processes.

  • Dispersed light is a type of light that is not focused and spreads out in all directions. This type of light can be produced by a variety of sources, like the sun or a light bulb. Dispersed light is composed of many different wavelengths and colors, and it is not coherent like laser light.

Think about a flashlight beam versus a laser beam. A flashlight beam spreads out in many directions and is not very focused, while a laser beam is tightly focused and travels in a straight line without spreading out.

Fig. 3 LIDAR Systems

The XLS is better for ghost hunting than the SLS because it uses an updated Kinect sensor/camera that has a wider field of view and handles the majority of processing within the device itself, while the Xbox 360 Kinect uses the Xbox processor to do all the heavy lifting. The Xbox One Kinect also has additional features like the ability to read facial expressions and recognize faces, as well as calculate heart rate based on fluctuations in skin tone.

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