Computing the Distance between Canal Surfaces

  • Yanpeng Ma
  • Changhe Tu
  • Wenping Wang
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6130)


A canal surface is the envelope of a one-parameter set of moving spheres. We present an accurate and efficient method for computing the distance between two canal surfaces. First, we use a set of cone-spheres to enclose a canal surface. A cone-sphere is a surface generated by sweeping a sphere along a straight line segment with the radius of the sphere changing linearly; thus it is a truncated circular cone capped by spheres at the two ends. Then, for two canal surfaces we use the distances between their bounding cone-spheres to approximate their distance; the accuracy of this approximation is improved by subdividing the canal surfaces into more segments and use more cone-spheres to bound the segments, until a pre-specified threshold is reached. We present a method for computing tight bounding cone-spheres of a canal surface, which is an interesting problem in its own right. Based on it, we present a complete method for efficiently computing the distances between two canal surfaces using the distances among all pairs of their bounding cone-spheres. The key to its efficiency is a novel pruning technique that can eliminate most of the pairs of cone-spheres that do not contribute to the distance between the original canal surfaces. Experimental comparisons show that our method is more efficient than Lee et al’s method [13] for computing the distance between two complex objects composed of many canal surfaces.


canal surface distance computation cone-spheres  bounding volume distance interval 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanpeng Ma
    • 1
  • Changhe Tu
    • 1
  • Wenping Wang
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Computer Science and TechnologyShandong UniversityJinanChina
  2. 2.University of Hong Kong 

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