Robot, Find my Keys!

A new robot from MIT can find an object in a pile, even if it is completely hidden.


FuseBot, a new robotic device created at MIT, uses visual data and radio-frequency signals to detect objects buried beneath a mass of other objects. The researchers previously developed a robotic arm that can find objects in a pile using RFID tags. Their new system is capable of finding things without the RFID “Cheat.” But how?

The robotic arm can scan the pile Using a combination of a video camera, a radio antenna, and a complex algorithm and start to eliminate all the places the requested object is NOT at. After that, it uses radio frequency to peek into the pile and try to make out all the different objects inside it. When it finds the requested object, the arm moves any obstruction, finds the correct item, and retrieves it.

Although this new method does not require RFID tags to work, the researchers say the process becomes much simpler and much more efficient if some of the objects are tagged. This allows the system to recognize all the different objects in the pile much faster and find the required one in much less time.

This system can be implemented on any computer and, therefore, on any robot. Meaning you could just ask your robot to find anything in your messy apartment, and it could do it for you faster than you could do it yourself. However, we don’t understand why your apartment is messy if you have a robot.

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