Arduino-controlled Reflectance Transformation Imaging to the study of cultural heritage objects

Victoria Corregidor, Renato Dias, Norberto Catarino, Carlos Cruz, Luis C. Alves, João Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Downloads (Pure)


This article examines the development of a low-cost and portable set-up controlled by an Arduino board to perform Reflectance Transformation Imaging technique, from the information derived from 45 digital photographs of an object acquired using a stationary camera. The set-up consists of 45 high-intensity light emitting diodes (LEDs) distributed over a hemispherical dome of 70 cm in diameter and a digital camera on the top of the dome. The LEDs are controlled by an Arduino board, and the user can individually control the LEDs state (ON or OFF) and duration of illumination. An old manuscript written with iron-gall ink and a set of 1 Euro coins mint in 2002 were photographed with the set-up. The interactive re-lighting and the mathematical enhancement of the object's surface revealed corrosion, loss of material, scratches and other details, which were not perceived in standard images. These unique features, which can be extracted using edge detection processing, have immediate application in different fields such as cultural heritage or forensic studies, where they can be used as fingerprints to identify unique objects, allowing also recognizing the use of tools to alter the surface of coins to increase the price in the market.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1586
JournalApplied sciences-Basel
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2020


  • Arduino
  • Low-cost dome
  • Reflectance Transformation Imaging
  • Coins recognition
  • Degradation visualization


Dive into the research topics of 'Arduino-controlled Reflectance Transformation Imaging to the study of cultural heritage objects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this