[FoRK] coffee drone

Damien Morton dmorton at bitfurnace.com
Sat Jun 23 05:14:32 PDT 2012

On Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 3:22 PM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:

> 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 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.

You're talking about the markers used for AR systems - these are going out
of style now that OpenCV has markerless tracking


Here's an example of a marker based autonomous tracking drone

You have to wear the right t-shirt though.

> 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.
> 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.
So, there are solutions that build up point clouds from stereo vision


And there are solution that work using Structure from Motion:


There are also solutions that use LIDAR, expensive at $5K for a lidar unit


My guess is that you'd want your drone to first survey the area it was
going to be operating in, and use some offline process to build up a map of
the area.

Or, if you felt your drone had enough energy budget to carry something like
a beaglebone around with it, you might be able to do the mapping on-board.

What we really need is an inexpensive low-power per-pixel depth sensor.

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