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CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


Topics: Introduction to Robotics CS 491/691(X)
Lecture 5 Instructor: Monica Nicolescu

‡ Sensors
± Simple, complex ± Proprioceptive, exteroceptive

‡ Switches ‡ Light sensors ‡ Polarized light sensors ‡ Resistive position sensors ‡ Potentiometers ‡ Reflective optosensors
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 3

Reflective Optosensors
‡ Include a source of light emitter (light emitting diodes LED) and a light detector (photodiode or phototransistor) ‡ Two arrangements, depending on the positions of the emitter and detector
± Reflectance sensors: Emitter and detector
are side by side; Light reflects from the object back into the detector

± Break-beam sensors: The emitter and
detector face each other; Object is detected if light between them is interrupted
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‡ Ambient / background light can interfere with the sensor measurement ‡ The ambient light level should be subtracted to get only the emitter light level ‡ Calibration: the process of adjusting a mechanism so as to maximize its performance ‡ Ambient light can change   sensors need to be calibrated repeatedly ‡ Detecting ambient light is difficult if the emitter has the same wavelength
± Adjust the wavelength of the emitter
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 5

Infra Red (IR) Light
‡ IR light works at a frequency different than ambient light ‡ IR sensors are used in the same ways as the visible light sensors, but more robustly
± Reflectance sensors, break beams

‡ Sensor reports the amount of overall illumination,
± ambient lighting and the light from light source

‡ More powerful way to use infrared sensing
² Modulation/demodulation: rapidly turn on and off the source of light
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 6

‡ Modulated IR is commonly used for communication ‡ Modulation is done by flashing the light source at a particular frequency ‡ This signal is detected by a demodulator tuned to that particular frequency ‡ Offers great insensitivity to ambient light
± Flashes of light can be detected even if weak
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 7

Infrared Communication
‡ Bit frames
± All bits take the same amount of time to transmit ± Sample the signal in the middle of the bit frame ± Used for standard computer/modem communication ± Useful when the waveform can be reliably transmitted

‡ Bit intervals
± Sampled at the falling edge ± Duration of interval between sampling determines whether it is a 0 or 1 ± Common in commercial use ± Useful when it is difficult to control the exact shape of the waveform
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


Proximity Sensing
‡ Ideal application for modulated/demodulated IR light sensing ‡ Light from the emitter is reflected back into detector by a nearby object, indicating whether an object is present
± LED emitter and detector are pointed in the same direction


Modulated light is far less susceptible to environmental variables
± amount of ambient light and the reflectivity of different objects

CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


Break Beam Sensors
‡ Any pair of compatible emitter-detector devices can be used to make a break-beam sensor ‡ Examples:
± Incadescent flashlight bulb and photocell ± Red LEDs and visible-light-sensitive phototransistors ± IR emitters and detectors

‡ Where have you seen these?
± Break beams and clever burglars in movies ± In robotics they are mostly used for keeping track of shaft rotation

CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


Shaft Encoding
‡ Shaft encoders
± Measure the angular rotation of a shaft or an axle

‡ Provide position and velocity information about the shaft ‡ Speedometers: measure how fast the wheels are turning ‡ Odometers: measure the number of rotations of the wheels

CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


Measuring Rotation
‡ A perforated disk is mounted on the shaft ‡ An emitter±detector pair is placed on both sides of the disk ‡ As the shaft rotates, the holes in the disk interrupt the light beam ‡ These light pulses are counted thus monitoring the rotation of the shaft ‡ The more notches, the higher the resolution of the encoder
± One notch, only complete rotations can be counted

CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


General Encoder Properties
‡ Encoders are active sensors ‡ Produce and measure a wave function of light intensity ‡ The wave peaks are counted to compute the speed of the shaft ‡ Encoders measure rotational velocity and position

CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


Color-Based Encoders
‡ Use a reflectance sensors to count the rotations ‡ Paint the disk wedges in alternating contrasting colors ‡ Black wedges absorb light, white reflect it and only reflections are counted

CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


Uses of Encoders
‡ Velocity can be measured
± at a driven (active) wheel ± at a passive wheel (e.g., dragged behind a legged robot)

‡ By combining position and velocity information, one can:
± move in a straight line ± rotate by a fixed angle

‡ Can be difficult due to wheel and gear slippage and to backlash in geartrains

CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


Quadrature Shaft Encoding
‡ How can we measure direction of rotation? ‡ Idea:
± Use two encoders instead of one ± Align sensors to be 90 degrees out of phase ± Compare the outputs of both sensors at each time step with the previous time step ± Only one sensor changes state (on/off) at each time step, based on the direction of the shaft rotation   this determines the direction of rotation ± A counter is incremented in the encoder that was on

CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


Which Direction is the Shaft Moving?

Encoder A = 1 and Encoder B = 0
± If moving to position AB=00, the position count is incremented ± If moving to the position AB=11, the position count is decremented

State transition table: ‡ ‡ Previous state = current state   no change in position Single-bit change   incrementing / decrementing the count Double-bit change   illegal transition


CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5

Uses of QSE in Robotics
‡ Robot arms with complex joints
± e.g., rotary/ball joints like knees or shoulders


Cartesian robots, overhead cranes
± The rotation of a long worm screw moves an arm/rack back and fort along an axis

‡ Copy machines, printers ‡ Elevators ‡ Motion of robot wheels
± Dead-reckoning positioning
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 18

Ultrasonic Distance Sensing
‡ Sonars: so(und) na(vigation) r(anging) ‡ Based on the time-of-flight principle ‡ The emitter sends a ³chirp´ of sound ‡ If the sound encounters a barrier it reflects back to the sensor ‡ The reflection is detected by a receiver circuit, tuned to the frequency of the emitter ‡ Distance to objects can be computed by measuring the elapsed time between the chirp and the echo ‡ Sound travels about 0.89 milliseconds per foot
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 19

Sonar Sensors
‡ Emitter is a membrane that transforms mechanical energy into a ³ping´ (inaudible sound wave) ‡ The receiver is a microphone tuned to the frequency of the emitted sound ‡ Polaroid Ultrasound Sensor
± Used in a camera to measure the distance from the camera to the subject for auto-focus system ± Emits in a 30 degree sound cone ± Has a range of 32 feet ± Operates at 50 KHz
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 20

‡ Echolocation = finding location based on sonar ‡ Numerous animals use echolocation ‡ Bats use sound for:
± finding pray, avoid obstacles, find mates, communication with other bats

find small fish, swim through mazes

‡ Natural sensors are much more complex than artificial ones
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 21

Specular Reflection
‡ Sound does not reflect directly and come right back ‡ Specular reflection
± The sound wave bounces off multiple sources before returning to the detector

‡ Smoothness
± The smoother the surface the more likely is that the sound would bounce off

‡ Incident angle
± The smaller the incident angle of the sound wave the higher the probability that the sound will bounce off
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 22

Improving Accuracy
‡ Use rough surfaces in lab environments ‡ Multiple sensors covering the same area ‡ Multiple readings over time to detect ³discontinuities´ ‡ Active sensing ‡ In spite of these problems sonars are used successfully in robotics applications
± Navigation ± Mapping
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 23

Laser Sensing
‡ High accuracy sensor ‡ Lasers use light time-of-flight ‡ Light is emitted in a beam (3mm) rather than a cone ‡ Provide higher resolution ‡ For small distances light travels faster than it can be measured   use phase-shift measurement ‡ SICK LMS200
± 360 readings over an 180-degrees, 10Hz

‡ Disadvantages:
± cost, weight, power, price ± mostly 2D
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 24

Visual Sensing
‡ Cameras try to model biological eyes ‡ Machine vision is a highly difficult research area
± Reconstruction ± What is that? Who is that? Where is that?

‡ Robotics requires answers related to achieving goals
± Not usually necessary to reconstruct the entire world

‡ Applications
± Security, robotics (mapping, navigation)

CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


Principles of Cameras
‡ Cameras have many similarities with the human eye
± The light goes through an opening (iris - lens) and hits the image plane (retina) ± The retina is attached to light-sensitive elements (rods, cones ² silicon circuits) ± Only objects at a particular range are in focus (fovea) ± depth of field ± 512x512 pixels (cameras), 120x106 rods and 6x106 cones (eye) ± The brightness is proportional to the amount of light reflected from the objects
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 26

Image Brightness
‡ Brightness depends on
± reflectance of the surface patch ± position and distribution of the light sources in the environment ± amount of light reflected from other objects in the scene onto the surface patch

‡ Two types of reflection
± Specular (smooth surfaces) ± Diffuse (rough sourfaces)

‡ Necessary to account for these properties for correct object reconstruction   complex computation
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


Early Vision
‡ The retina is attached to numerous rods and cones which, in turn, are attached to nerve cells (neurons) ‡ The nerves process the information; they perform "early vision", and pass information on throughout the brain to do "higher-level" vision processing ‡ The typical first step ("early vision") is edge detection, i.e., find all the edges in the image ‡ Suppose we have a b&w camera with a 512 x 512 pixel image ‡ Each pixel has an intensity level between white and black ‡ How do we find an object in the image? Do we know if there is one?
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 28

Edge Detection
‡ Edge = a curve in the image across which there is a change in brightness ‡ Finding edges
± Differentiate the image and look for areas where the magnitude of the derivative is large

‡ Difficulties
± Not only edges produce changes in brightness: shadows, noise

‡ Smoothing
± Filter the image using convolution ± Use filters of various orientations

‡ Segmentation: get objects out of the lines
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 29

Model-Based Vision
‡ Compare the current image with images of similar objects (models) stored in memory ‡ Models provide prior information about the objects ‡ Storing models
± Line drawings ± Several views of the same object ± Repeatable features (two eyes, a nose, a mouth)

‡ Difficulties
± Translation, orientation and scale ± Not known what is the object in the image ± Occlusion
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 30

Vision from Motion
‡ Take advantage of motion to facilitate vision ‡ Static system can detect moving objects
± Subtract two consecutive images from each other   the movement between frames

‡ Moving system can detect static objects
± At consecutive time steps continuous objects move as one ± Exact movement of the camera should be known

‡ Robots are typically moving themselves
± Need to consider the movement of the robot

CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


Stereo Vision
‡ 3D information can be computed from two images ‡ Compute relative positions of cameras ‡ Compute disparity
± displacement of a point in 3D between the two images

‡ Disparity is inverse proportional with actual distance in 3D
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 32

Biological Vision
‡ Similar visual strategies are used in nature ‡ Model-based vision is essential for object/people recognition ‡ Vestibular occular reflex
± Eyes stay fixed while the head/body is moving to stabilize the image

‡ Stereo vision
± Typical in carnivores

‡ Human vision is particularly good at recognizing shadows, textures, contours, other shapes
CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5 33

Vision for Robots
‡ If complete scene reconstruction is not needed we can simplify the problem based on the task requirements ‡ Use color ‡ Use a combination of color and movement ‡ Use small images ‡ Combine other sensors with vision ‡ Use knowledge about the environment

CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


Examples of Vision-Based Navigation
Running QRIO Sony Aibo ± obstacle avoidance

CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5



‡ F. Martin: Chapter 6 ‡ M. Matari : 9

CS 491/691(X) - Lecture 5


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