Humanoid robot that sees and maps

Jul 02, 2013
Humanoid robot that sees and maps
Roboray. Credit: Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology

(Phys.org) —Computer vision algorithms that enable Samsung's latest humanoid robot, Roboray, to build real-time 3D visual maps to move around more efficiently have been developed by researchers from the University of Bristol.

By using cameras, the robot builds a map reference relative to its surroundings and is able to "remember" where it has been before. The ability to build visual maps quickly and anywhere is essential for navigation, in particular when the robot gets into places that have no (GPS) signals or other references.

Roboray is one of the most advanced humanoid robots in the world, with a height of 140 cm and a weight of 50 kg. It has a on its head and 53 different actuators including six for each leg and 12 for each hand.

The robot features a range of novel technologies. In particular it walks in a more human-like manner by using what is known as dynamic walking. This means that the robot is falling at every step, using gravity to carry it forward without much . This is the way humans walk and is in contrast to most other humanoid robots that "bend their knees to keep the centre of mass low and stable". This way of walking is also more challenging for the as objects in images move more quickly.

The Bristol team, who have been collaborating with Samsung Electronics in South Korea since 2009, was in charge of the computer vision aspects of 3D SLAM (simultaneous localisation and mapping).

Dr Walterio Mayol-Cuevas, Deputy Director of the Bristol Robotics Lab, Reader in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol and leader of the team, said: "A humanoid robot has an ideal shape to use the same tools and spaces designed for people, as well as a good test bed to develop designed for .

"Robots that close the gap with human behaviours, such as by featuring dynamic walking, will not only allow more energy efficiency but be better accepted by people as they move in a more natural manner."

Dr Sukjune Yoon from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), speaking about the collaboration with the University of Bristol, said: "Bristol's visual SLAM and their other real-time visual technologies have been very beneficial for Samsung Electronics' project.

"Mapping in real-time for a biped humanoid is much harder than for wheeled vehicles not only because there is less constant contact with the ground. In the near future, it is expected that humanoid robotic technologies will be able to provide a valuable service to society with robots working alongside people."

The technology of rapid 3D visual mapping, developed at Bristol, is internationally renowned because of its ability to robustly track and recover from rapid motions and occlusions, which is essential for when the humanoid moves and turns at normal walking speeds. This Bristol work has been used for a number of applications outside robotics too, from augmented reality to commercial applications in the analysis of wearable Gaze data.

A paper describing some aspects of this collaboration with Samsung is published in the journal Advanced Robotics.

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More information: Yoon, S. et al. Real-time 3D simultaneous localization and map-building for a dynamic walking humanoid robot, Advanced Robotics, Volume 27, Issue 10, 2013. www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10… .785379#.Ucg3wJyOmN8

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User comments : 3

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wealthychef
not rated yet Jul 02, 2013
I hope my XV-11 robot vacuum cleaner gets smarter too someday
VendicarE
not rated yet Jul 02, 2013
bede... bede... bede... bede.... bede....

Humpty
1 / 5 (4) Jul 02, 2013
Yeah when it can walk in a reasonably human style time frame, across one side of Australia to the other, with no break downs, and either on a single charge or with the capacity to self recharge, or by doing energy pick ups at predetermined points, like a person having a regular meal, then I will give it total credibility......., over mountains, through desserts, across rivers...

Until then yes siree, it's just a clever bit of laborotory tech.