[FoRK] coffee drone

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Fri Jun 22 12:22:28 PDT 2012

On 6/22/12 12:12 PM, Damien Morton wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM, Stephen D. Williams<sdw at lig.net>  wrote:
>> On 6/22/12 11:32 AM, Damien Morton wrote:
>>> I've been thinking about an autonomous personal cameraman.
>>> ...
>> Machine vision, optionally paired with radial range finder like a VOR/DME
>> would solve this easily.  The latter could be done visually with an IR
>> beacon beany.  Machine vision and human pose recognition can easily track a
>> walking human now.
> Machine vision isn't quite reliable enough for this, and the beacons that
> exist require expensive IR vision gear to see.

If you were to wear a 1 ft. square target on your back and a similar one on your head, it would be trivial to track visually.  
Should be doable without that, but trivial with it.  Code's been out there for recognition / tracking for at least 4 years.  You'd 
probably want a zoom camera paired with wide angle to get good distance, but pretty trivial.  Tracking stability would be based on 
visual flow, corner search, and movement prediction / motion estimation.

Get me a quad or hex copter that can carry a good smart phone, and I'll implement something.  In a few months when I have time.  But 
they'll probably be selling by then.  Already the open source autopilot is rivaling defense projects in some sense.

I plan to visit these guys shortly:


Tracking in the open isn't too hard.  The difficult level is environment understanding and planning so that it wouldn't run into 
trees, buildings, tunnels, other quadracopters, etc.  I.e. a full self-driving skycopter / skybot.

> There exist laser beacons, but again, the vision systems needed for those
> are pretty sophisticated.
> There are laser tracking devices that lock onto retroreflectors, and these
> are used for sub-mm level surveying work. Expensive.
> Of course, if your drone has to carry around significant machine vision
> grunt, that puts a dent in your energy budget.
> A hybrid system, using GPS and vision might be made to work, I suppose.
>> Clearly, this is needed for God-mode video capture (back country mountain
>> biking etc.) and smite-thee-bully protection.  Allow manual switchover to
>> your guardian angel buddies for video game strafing as needed, upon panic
>> button.
> It would be cool to be able to point at somone and pull an imaginary
> trigger to command your Personal Aerial Guardian to turd-bomb that person
> seconds later.


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