Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New RFID technology helps robots find household objects

22.09.2014

Mobile robots could be much more useful in homes, if they could locate people, places and objects.

Today’s robots usually see the world with cameras and lasers, which have difficulty reliably recognizing things and can miss objects that are hidden in clutter. A complementary way robots can “sense” what is around them is through the use of small ultra-high frequency radio-frequency identification (UHF RFID) tags.


A Georgia Tech research team has developed a new search algorithm that improves a robot’s ability to find and navigate to tagged objects.

Inexpensive self-adhesive tags can be stuck on objects, allowing an RFID-equipped robot to search a room for the correct tag’s signal, even when the object is hidden out of sight. Once the tag is detected, the robot knows the object it’s trying to find isn’t far away.

“But RFID doesn’t tell the robot where it is,” said Charlie Kemp, an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. “To actually find the object and get close to it, the robot has to be more clever.”

That’s why Kemp, former Georgia Tech student Travis Deyle and University of Washington Professor Matthew Reynolds developed a new search algorithm that improves a robot’s ability to find and navigate to tagged objects. The team has implemented their system on a PR2 robot, allowing it to travel through a home and correctly locate different types of tagged household objects, including a medication bottle, TV remote, phone and hair brush. The research was presented September 14-18 in Chicago at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS).

The researchers have equipped a PR2 robot with articulated, directionally sensitive antennas and a new algorithm that allows the robot to successfully find and navigate to the intended object. Due to the physics of radio-frequency propagation, these antennas tend to receive stronger signals from a tag when they are closer to it and pointed more directly at it. By moving around the antennas on its shoulders and driving around the room, the PR2 can figure out the direction it should move to get a stronger signal from a tag and thus become closer to a tagged object.  In essence, the robot plays the classic childhood game of “Hotter/Colder” with the tag telling the PR2 when it’s getting closer to the target object.

In contrast to other approaches, the robot doesn’t explicitly estimate the 3D location of the target object, which significantly reduces the complexity of the algorithm.

“Instead the robot can use its mobility and our special behaviors to get close to a tag and oriented toward it,” said Deyle, who conducted the study in Kemp’s lab while earning his doctoral degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Georgia Tech.

Deyle, who currently works at Google, says the research has implications for future home robots and is particularly compelling for applications such as helping people with medicine, as RFID is able to provide precise identification information about an object or a person.

“This could allow a robot to search for, grasp and deliver the right medication to the right person at the right time,” he added. “RFID provides precise identification, so the risk of delivering the wrong medication is dramatically reduced. Creating a system that allows robots to accurately locate the correct tag is an important first step.”

Reynolds added, “While we have demonstrated this technology with a few common household objects, the RFID tags can uniquely identify billions of different objects with essentially zero false positives. This is important because many objects look alike, yet must be uniquely identified – for example, identifying the correct medication bottle that should be delivered to a specific person.”

“With a little modification of the objects in your home, a robot could quickly take inventory of your possessions and navigate to an object of your choosing,” said Kemp, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Biomedical Engineering. “Are you looking for something? The robot will show you where it is.”

CITATION: Travis Deyle, Matt Reynolds and Charles C. Kemp, “Finding and Navigating to Household Objects with UHF RFID Tags by Optimizing RF Signal Strength.” IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2014.

FUNDING: This work was supported in part by National Science Foundation (NSF) awards CBET-0932592 and CBET-0931924, an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program award and Willow Garage. Any conclusions or opinions are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the sponsoring agency.

Jason Maderer | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.news.gatech.edu/2014/09/22/new-rfid-technology-helps-robots-find-household-objects

Further reports about: Biomedical Conference IEEE NSF RFID RFID tags RFID technology Robots algorithm medication navigate objects right person

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Ultra-precise chip-scale sensor detects unprecedentedly small changes at the nanoscale
18.01.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

nachricht Data analysis optimizes cyber-physical systems in telecommunications and building automation
18.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Algorithmen und Wissenschaftliches Rechnen SCAI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>