Machine perception - robots learn to see using LiDAR
To enable machine vision in three dimensions, a team of researchers at Fraunhofer IPMS is developing a "scanning eye". The institute has been working for years on so-called MEMS scanning mirrors, which are used for the targeted deflection of light for applications in industry, medicine and everyday life. These compact micro-optical components with integrated drives are extremely robust and reliable.
Machine 3D vision with LIDAR
Installed at the end of a robot arm, a scanner mirror can make the robot "aware" at any time of what is happening in its environment, what work steps it has to complete and what the quality of its work is. This scanner module is a kind of eye for the robot, which takes high-resolution images in the three spatial axes. The system directs and detects a laser beam in two dimensions and simultaneously captures the depth as a third dimension by measuring the time of flight of the light between the object and the detector, also known as LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging). Production facilities or vehicles equipped with this scanning technology gain a reliable understanding of their surroundings, paving the way for fully autonomous systems.
Advanced Machine Perception - 4D
As an expansion stage of the system, broadband light sources can be used to obtain spectral information about solid, liquid or gaseous substances. In addition to the time-of-flight measurement, an optical grating on the micromirror is used to control the reflection depending on the wavelength, which enables the spectral analysis of different substances. This system approach is not only used as a safety feature in human-machine interfaces, but can also be used for monitoring the quality of drinking water, quality testing in the field of pharmaceuticals, remote monitoring of production plants or as a leakage test for pipelines. In this way, the developments at Fraunhofer IPMS enable a new way of recording environmental data, so that plants can be operated more safely, processes can be more stable and personal contact with hazardous substances can be avoided.
Advantages of the "scanning eye"
- Non-contact environment analysis
- Ultra-high resolution
- Extremely compact
- Perfect for mobile applications
- Robust, reliable and maintenance-free