New 3-D sensor will enable robots to improve observation of their environment

The TACO project will make it possible to apply current robots in more sophisticated markets so that they will play a major role in the fields of cleaning, construction, maintenance, security, health care, entertainment, and personal assistance.

The TACO (Three-dimensional Adaptive Camera with Object detection and foveation) project will make it possible to apply current robots in more sophisticated markets so that they will play a major role in the fields of cleaning, construction, maintenance, security, health care, entertainment, and personal assistance.

TACO employs 3-D foveation to significantly improve on current 3D sensor systems.Foveation enables the TACO systems to acquire 3-D images with coarse level of details, to apply fast object detection techniques to select areas of interest in the coarse 3-D image and then concentrate image acquisition of regions or details of interest. Similar to the human eye, the robot will become able to focus on the most relevant object and scan and monitor it closely and detailed.

The TACO sensor will enable significantly better, faster and cheaper 3-D sensing compared to current laser scanners, says Jens T Thielemann, TACO’s technical lead. “Through the foveation process, the sensor will provide 10 times better resolution than existing sensors with hardware enabling a 10 times size resolution," he continues. A significant amount of resources is committed towards verification and benchmarking of the sensor. “One of the most important project deliveries will be an easily accessible report comparing the TACO sensor to existing 3-D sensors," Thielemann says, “making the TACO advantage clear to the European robotics community.”

The main goal of TACO is to develop a flexible, compact, robust, and low cost 3-D sensing system that includes the following three major parts:
1. a novel concept for fast attention level management
2. a 3-D laser scanner sensor
3. a software framework

This project aims to advance the European robotics industry by addressing the strategic challenges of 3D sensing and producing innovative technologies.

TACO is a European Commission co-financed small or medium-scale focused research project under the 7th Framework Programme. The project started in February and the duration is defined for 30 months. TACO’s consortium is composed of four research institutes, two industrial companies, and one university, which are all seated in Europe (Austria, UK, Germany and Norway). The expertises of the consortium members are widespread and range from the development of the required hardware and software components to the provision of the test environment to the experience of international project coordination.

Posted by Vision Systems Design

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