Think about it – talking speakers (Alexa); Vacuum Cleaners (Roomba); The Clapper (lights on, lights off) – robots are in the house. In the not so distant past, we watched and laughed as The Jetson’s invaded our living rooms with robots that did almost all of the housework. Without robotic vision, these home robots would not work efficiently or effectively.

Robotic VisionHowever, we haven’t really seen the true potential of robotic technology being unleashed. While the cartoon showed us the infinite possibilities of humans and robots co-existing, movies like the Terminator or Wall-E scared us by showing the prospective dark side of Artificial Intelligence and technology.

The future is full of home robots. Everything from humanoid robots on wheels, to Alexa being attached to the top of the Roomba.  Their navigational skills do need improvement. Getting around the house can be difficult, and without legs the robot cannot get up or down the steps. GPS for indoor use doesn’t exist with the accuracy of the out of door systems.

This situation became a project for the Hackaday Prize which was to solve the problem of indoor navigation, and it does so in an amazingly clever way. It was accomplished using QR (Quick Response) coding, but not just any QR codes. They are QR codes read by an infrared camera. They’ve been painted on the walls and ceilings with a special IR sensitive paint that’s not visible to the human eye. It’s navigation for robotic vision, and it’s a fantastic idea.

The idea is rather simple; it uses an IR (Infrared) camera, or basically a web cam with the IR blocking filter removed – and a large amount of IR LED’s to illuminate any target. A computer can easily read QR codes, and by using paint that is invisible to the human eye, yet visible to the IR camera, the project is merely a matter of implementation.

There have been a number of projects that have tried to add indoor navigation to robots. Some of them used LIDAR, some computer vision and SLAM (Simultaneous localization and mapping). These ideas are all computationally expensive. Others used wireless beacons to navigate the stairways and hallways of indoor space.

Without a precision lens built into home robotic system, Roomba would continually bump into walls, and worse yet, a robot designed to climb stairs might miss a step, fall and break. Universe Optics is committed to creating the exact lens with the cleanest and clearest image being sent to the on-board computer system.  We take pride in being on the cutting edge of new and developing technology. You can count on our team of designers to work closely with you to implement your ideas, and our manufacturing team to deliver them.

Vacuums, pet care, floor cleaners, pool cleaners, lawn mowers, companion robots, are all places where robotic vision is being used and implemented into the home.

Robotic vision is making its way into every facet of our lives; whether we want it to or not. In today’s fast-paced world of technology, the reality of the Jetson’s isn’t that far away.