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EETE FEB 2014

MEMS-based robotic eyes for 3D scanning with adaptive resolution For three-and-a-half years, five research institutions and two industrial companies have been working within the scope of the European joint research project “TACO” (Three dimensional Adaptive Camera with Object Detection and Foveation) on the development of a new kind of 3D-camera system that should allow robots to perform more demanding tasks. For this project The Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS in Dresden contributed a novel MEMS scan technology as a key hardware component, enabling “relevant” objects in the surroundings to be detected with a higher resolution, similar to human vision, without having to increase the volume of data. Robots typically lack either spatial information that is resolved in real-time by humans or the necessary focus for artificial, three-dimensional seeing. Another issue is that often too much image information is recorded and can’t be processed quickly enough to be translated into action. Researchers at Fraunhofer IPMS have developed an extremely compact scanning technology, dubbed LinScan, for ToF (time of flight) telemeter systems that allows a three-dimensional image acquisition with a flexible scanning rate and thus scanning with an adapted resolution. 3D camera systems equipped with LinScan could enable future generations of robots to roughly search their surroundings for objects that appear in their visual field and to only resolve the objects they are looking for at a higher accuracy. The robot would work with a relatively small volume of data and would still be able to gain a better understanding of its surroundings so as to better interact with everyday objects and our environment. A precondition for the realization of this so-called principle of foveation is, however, that the robot knows what it is looking for and that it is also able to identify and interpret the objects being sought in a matter of seconds. The novel adaptive camera system developed within the scope of European joint research project TACO relies on an optical scanner with five synchronously operated LinScan mirrors from the Fraunhofer IPMS. The MEMS scanner array guarantees the necessary receiving aperture for the Time of Flight (TOF) telemeter system of effectively 5mm and was designed for an adaptive 3D-camera system with an optical scanning range of at least 40°x60°, 1 MVoxel/s measuring rate of the TOF telemeter system with a 3mm measuring uncertainty at a measuring distance of 7.5m. The quasi-static drive of the microscanner allows a line-by-line image formation with a variable refresh rate ranging from under 1Hz to 100Hz, whereby the vertical measuring point density in the relevant image section can be locally increased by reducing the scanning rate. The horizontal image acquisition by means of the gimbalmounted 1.6 kHz resonant micro-mirror guarantees a larger receiving aperture compared to a 2D-quasi-static drive. Memsic announces SDK for MEMS-watch ref design Memsic has announced it is developing a software development kit for a connected watch with an integrated electronic compass. Memsic has teamed up with Meta Watch Ltd. (Dallas, Texas) to provide advanced features for a watch development kit that can support context awareness, health and many types of motion and orientation The SDK makes use of the MMC3416xPJ magnetometer which uses less than 50-microamps of current and can be always on. Memsic is providing sensor fusion software to allow applications to understand the context of the user, such as whether the user is standing, sitting, lying, walking or running, and can also assist in indoor navigation applications. The SDK also provides a wireless connection to another mobile device, further simplifying the development and integration process. The software provides magnetic tilt compensation and the MMC3416xPJ magnetometer comes in a 1.6mm by 1.6mm by 0.6mm package. Memsic www.memsic.com www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe February 2014 29


EETE FEB 2014
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