Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Navigating the unknown

09.10.2015

A computer algorithm that copies the navigation functionality of humans and animals helps robots navigate unfamiliar spaces.

This robot uses neural schemes similar to humans to navigate an office environment. © 2015 A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research


This robot uses neural schemes similar to humans to navigate an office environment. © 2015 A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research

A robot with a navigation system that mirrors the neural scheme used by humans and animals to find their way around has been developed by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) researchers in Singapore [1].

The human navigation function is operated by two types of brain cells — place cells and grid cells. Place cells become active in the brain when we recognize familiar places, while grid cells provide us with an absolute reference system, so we can determine exactly where we are on a map.

The way sailors used to navigate through tracking of relative movement, however, is essential for finding a way through unfamiliar areas, explains Miaolong Yuan from the A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research team. “A sailor will use cues such as the stars or landmarks to determine where their ship is on a map, and then, as the ship moves, will update its location on the map by observing only speed and direction.”

The human brain uses grid cells, which provide a virtual reference frame for spatial awareness to handle this type of relative navigation. Each time we move through and pass one of the virtual grid points that the brain has set up, the respective grid cell becomes active, and we know our relative movement in relation to those coordinates. By using both place and grid cells for navigation, humans and animals are able to accurately move through the environment.

Yuan and the team have implemented the same neural scheme for robots, using computer programs that simulate the activity of place and grid cells in the brain. Crucial to the computational algorithm is the strength of the feedback mechanism between the grid cells and place cells, and the calibration of the visual signals is integral to the map building process of the computer algorithm.

The algorithm was tested in a robot (see image) that explored a 35 meter x 35 meter indoor office environment. The robot was able to detect loops in the path through the office space and, by using visual cues to recognize areas visited repeatedly, built its own neurological map of the office.

The computer navigation system assists the robot in situations where it is lost in a new environment, says Yuan. “Cognitive maps can help the robot when it is lost, because they can provide global topological information of the navigating environment to help the robot localize itself.”

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute for Infocomm Research

Reference

[1] Yuan, M., Tian, B., Shim, V. A., Tang, H. & Li, H. An entorhinal-hippocampal model for simultaneous cognitive map building. Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 586–592 (2015).


Associated links
Original article from A*STAR Research

A*STAR Research | Research SEA

Further reports about: A*STAR Navigating algorithm grid cells movement navigation system

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers
20.07.2018 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

nachricht Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise
18.07.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>