There are now several robots that are designed to accompany and assist ground-based army troops. Those machines could soon have a new ability – detecting changes in the environment that may be missed by soldiers.
When weapons such as IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are hidden along the roadside, they do visually change the environment, but in a manner which is subtle enough that it will likely be unnoticed by the human eye. The US Army Research Laboratory’s Dr. Christopher Reardon set out to address that problem
Working with colleagues from the University of California, San Diego, he equipped a small autonomous wheeled robot with LiDAR sensors – these detect objects and measure distances by emitting laser beams, then measuring how long it takes for the laser light to be reflected back by whatever it strikes.
In Reardon’s system, the robot had initially LiDAR-scanned an environment once, in order to establish a baseline for what everything should look like. When it went back through that environment again, the robot was able to detect even very slight changes in the placement of three-dimensional objects. That data was transmitted to augmented reality eyewear being worn by a human teammate, highlighting the suspect item within their field of vision.
It was noted that even relatively small, inexpensive, low-resolution LiDAR units performed the task sufficiently, making the technology more suitable for real-world use.
“This research aims to fill gaps by incorporating useful information from robot teammates into the soldier-worn visual augmentation ecosystem, while simultaneously making the robots better teammates to the soldier,” says Reardon.
The Netherlands’ Eindhoven University of Technology is developing a somewhat similar system, although it’s designed to be mounted on vehicles, and it utilizes a stereoscopic video camera instead of LiDAR sensors.
This article was filed under the industry:
Technology .Click here to read related business ideas in this industry category.
Researchers at Donghua University in China have developed a new type of fabric they claim can keep the wearer much cooler. The material is made from several different polymers in a relatively simple way, and can efficiently transfer heat and wick away sweat, while remaining water repellent from the outside. The material is composed of […]
More and more, we’re hearing about scaffolding-like materials that are used to help heal bone injuries. A new one is claimed to be particularly versatile, as it’s inspired by Lego building blocks. Typically made of biocompatible polymers, so-called bioscaffolding is usually either 3D-printed in one solid piece, or injected in the form of a gel […]
While it might seem like the internet is leaving a detailed record of history, the world’s knowledge is all surprisingly vulnerable to being lost in a disaster. To help keep a backup, GitHub has now archived 21 TB of public open source data and buried it in a vault in the Arctic designed to preserve […]
Researchers from the UK’s Durham University and Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute claim they’ve come up with the world’s first manufactured non-cuttable material, just 15 percent the density of steel, which they say could make for indestructible bike locks and lightweight armor. The material, named Proteus, uses ceramic spheres in a cellular aluminum structure to foil angle […]