A Carnegie Mellon University professor known for predicting the evolution of super-capable robots says he's just given robots better eyesight.
Hans Moravec has completed work on a three-dimensional robotic vision system he says will allow machines to make their way through offices and homes. The technology is "more than good enough to reliably navigate robots through a general environment," he said.
Moravec's system consists of stereoscopic digital cameras and a 3D grid set up in the robot's computer brain. The system determines the robot's distance from objects by noticing the different placement of the object in the two camera images and applying a geometric equation. The grid, which is made up of 32 million digital cells, is used to help handle incomplete or potentially misleading visual data. For example, an object visible in one camera lens might be blocked from the view of the other, or a blank wall may lack distinct features that can be used for triangulation.