A new technique for three-dimensional measurements of skin surface contours: Evaluation of skin surface contours according to the ageing process using a stereo image optical topometer

Jongsub Moon, Gilju Yi, Chil Hwan Oh, Minhee Lee, Yongshin Lee, Mingi Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


The evaluation of skin surface contours can be carried out by various techniques, including the use of a stylus profilometer, a laser profilometer and a conventional optical profilometer (COP). But these methods have some drawbacks because their data are basically obtained from two-dimensional algorithms. So a new technique has been developed based on a new concept: a stereo image processing technique which is considered in this paper. Since a pair of stereo images contains depth information, the 'disparity', or the difference between the left and right images, enables the production of three-dimensional coordinates. This study was performed to evaluate the change of skin surface contours according to the ageing process. The stereo image optical topometer (SOT) is a new instrument used for the three-dimensional evaluation of skin surface contours. Thus, five new parameters have to be developed, such as mean surface roughness (Sa), mean depth of roughness (Sz), three-dimensional length (SL), three-dimensional area (SA), and three-dimensional volume (SV). Sa, SL and SA have shown a statistically significant increase in the seventies age group. Sz has also shown a significant increase in the twenties and over-sixties age groups. The coefficient variation of the height of the skin surface using a COP varies between 14.76 and 6.57, but that using a SOT is between 2.18 and 2.69, according to age variation. In conclusion, the SOT system is a more reliable and useful method for evaluating skin surface contours than the COP system. Among the three-dimensional parameters which were made in this study, SA, SL and Sa, seem to be useful as reliable parameters for evaluating skin surface contours in the ageing process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-259
Number of pages13
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Jun 1



  • Ageing skin
  • Conventional optical profilometer
  • Non-invasive technique
  • Stereo image optical topometer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physiology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this