Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) with Arduino

Arduino comes useful in many applications and  even in art examination. I used it for Panoramic Infrared Reflectography. It just turned invaluable also for RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging). I had to do RTI documentation of graffiti in Syracuse catacombs and since the graffiti were over a mural painting it wasn’t easy to measure the distance between the targetand the speedlight (flash) I was operating.

The first option I was thinking of relied on a laser or an ultrasound distance meter. There are plenty of these tools, all very precise. The issue was that I had to put them on the speed light which was mounted on a pole. Therefore, I could not operate the meter and check the measured distances. All of these tools are engineered for hand-held use. The solution came from Arduino. There are ultrasound transducers which are designed to be used with Arduino. So, it was easy to figure out how to program Arduino in order to make an ultrasound distance meter which would produce a buzzer sound any time the speedlight was at a certain distance from the subject! The video shows how the ultrasound works when the range distance is set to 30 cm. Though, the range of these ultrasounds sensors (SRF05) is between  3 – 400 cm.


Arduino is an amazing tool. It makes electronics easy for everybody! It is both hardware (a circuit board) and software (a programming environment). ARDUINO allows anybody — just by learning a simplified programming language — to connect electronics and electrical devices together and give them instructions. Your PC, lamps, sensors,’s just up to your creativity. As defined in the developers’ site “Arduino is an open source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.”

arduino RTI reflectance TRansformation Imaging RTI

When Arduino is connected to a PC the actual distances can be read on the “serial monitor”


arduino RTI reflectance transformation Imaging

The Arduino Ultrasonic distance meter prototype.

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