The addition of a reference surface allows the Lumetrics OptiGauge to provide more than just thickness measurements.  A reference surface provides information on distance changes between an optical probe and the material being measured.   For demonstration purposes the following video shares the functionality as it pertains to the curvature of an automotive windshield.   However, the concept applies universally to any application where being able to measure curvature or depth changes is important.  

Another example of where the RSG would be valuable is when measuring a rough surface.   The RSG provides information on surface topography that would be useful for product development and production purposes.

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RSG Manual