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Robots With Better Observation

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Researchers say that new three-dimensional (3-D) sensing technology under development will be more similar to the human eye in the way it enables robots to observe their environment.

The Three-dimensional Adaptive Camera with Object detection and foveation (TACO) project is developing a sensor system for acquiring 3-D images with coarse level of details, and then applying fast object detection techniques to select areas of interest. The use of 3-D foveation will enable robots to focus on the most relevant object, and scan and monitor it closely for details.

The researchers say the TACO sensor will be much faster and cheaper than current 3-D sensing technology. "Through the foveation process, the sensor will provide 10 times better resolution than existing sensors with hardware enabling a 10 times size resolution," says TACO technical leader Jens T. Thielemann. With more natural and human-like observation capability, robots will have more of an impact in areas such as cleaning, construction, maintenance, security, health care, entertainment, and personal assistance.

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