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New Computer Vision Methods for NASA Robotic Planetary Exploration University of Arkansas/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Human Exploration & Operations, Space Technology, and Science Mission Directorates

Concept image of the corobot cane: the computer vision methods allow the robot cane to localize itself, map the environment in 3D, and detect objects and obstacles for wayfinding.

In future missions, the luxury of having constant human intervention may not be possible for deep space missions. Fully autonomous operations is key, however the current rover stereovision based navigation method is not reliable for fully autonomous operations. Therefore, Hudson and his University of Arkansas, Little Rock (UALR) team are developing and validating autonomous robot navigation methods based on a single imaging sensor-3D Flash LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) Camera (FLC). Along with devising innovative computer vision methods, new Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) computing techniques will be used to not only use for navigation purposes, but also for robot localization, terrain mapping, and path mapping. A spin off of the research resulted in robotics technology being used to develop a co-robot cane for the visually impaired. As a navigation aid, the co-robot cane has two modes: co-robot mode and white cane mode. The cane may detect human intent by sensing the cane user’s compliance to the robot motion and switch between the two modes automatically. The two computer vision components, 6-DOF (Degrees of Freedom) device pose estimation and 3D object detection, are the spin offs of the NASA EPSCoR research. The University of Arkansas, Little Rock (UALR) team received a research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the National Robotics Initiatives Program to further develop the computer vision methods for reliable and real-time application in the co-robot cane for the visually impaired.

Dr. Cang Ye, Science PI, University of Arkansas, Little Rock

Ali Shaykhian, Ph.D., NASA Technical Monitor, Kennedy Space Center, Information Technology (IT) Directorate

NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15



EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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