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Asked — Edited

What Is Really Needed For Indoor Navigation?

I have read about many ways to develop Indoor Navigation. The Hardware recommended varies from an IPS system to a Lidar based system, even straight scripts, the use of cameras, Encoders and maybe even a compass. There are simple methods given in tutorials but they are not the "real" navigation wanted.  Total confusion is what I end up with. I can see the validity of each device and even combinations of devices with added safety sensors such as drop off sensor, bumper sensors etc. Sophistication is needed but I end up with Mystification.

My main question is what works, is needed and makes sense? Anyone want to discuss this subject?

I know there are many who want to build the base for an Imoov or their favorite robot build or just get an Adventure Bot to travel throughout the house using a single verbal command. I would.

If Dj wants to do a Hack Night on this subject I think many would be interested.

Related Hardware EZ-B v4


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#34   — Edited
I was just curious. I was wondering if the ez cameras needed to be attached to the board or could be remote mounted as long as they were together. (side by side) or if the original standard duel camera remote located. Then the longer cable could be used ?
@Andy Roid, I guess that may be technically possible but you would also need something to mount them to in order to keep them flat against a surface.
A remote mount, part of a picture frame was my thought.
Thanks for the answers. Just my mind running again.
Thanks, the gerber files worked. I ordered the PCBs.
Are you trying to build the IDP?
#41   — Edited
I think what would be useful for all of you is to work on a desired outcome. The conversations of navigation seem to be about autonomy. What’s the purpose of your navigation needs? What are you actually wanting the robot to do? 

Remember, a solution requires an actual problem 

maybe the answer is I don’t know. I want the robot to move around and charge itself and make my breakfast and walk my kids to school. If that’s the case, the answer to your navigation needs is still in exploration stage. And therefore you simply need a navigation device to excitement with.
Hi Dj,
My goal is to be able to have my robot travel to a specified location, perform a function, and return to the home position.There can be multiple locations determined by a verbal command.
Also a second command would be the function. Then an execute command. An example of a function is speak a greeting, scan a face using an omron camera for facial recognition respond, then return to a home location.
( A greeter at the front door or travel to the play room to tell at the kids to be quiet. )
This is just what comes to mind right now. 
Does this help?
#43   — Edited


I think what would be useful for all of you is to work on a desired outcome. The conversations of navigation seem to be about autonomy. What’s the purpose of your navigation needs? What are you actually wanting the robot to do?
I have a dream:

1) Robot wanders the house (or the first floor at least.  Stair Climbing is probably outside my budget) without getting stuck or lost or banging into walls and furniture.
2) Robot reacts to family, guests, and intruders, but not to pets that it encounters (I'll leave the details of the specific reaction to a later conversation, but I think this is a use case that all users who have been interested in navigation share on some level).
3) When I call it (either by voice if within range, or with a request from my computer, phone or smartwatch) robot comes to me using the shortest possible unobstructed route.
3a) I want the robot to follow me, without bumping into obstructions even in areas it is not familiar with (have discussed beacon following before and have received a bunch of suggestions, but haven't had time to experiment yet.  The obstruction avoidance is why I am interest in Lidar for this.  I find the ultrasonic and IR distance sensors are not reliable enough)
4) Robot self charges when battery begins to run low, resume wandering when charge is complete.
5) Robot retrieves recognized cat (or dog or child) toys that it has been trained to recognize and brings them to me upon request.

My Neato vacuum can do #1, #3, and #4, and any EZ-Robot can do #2.  #5 I can currently do with Roli, but it takes too much human interaction to find the toy and get it picked up.  It is more a remote arm than an autonomous tool, but I am sure if I spend more time with it I could probably make it happen with existing scripting and auto-actions.  Maybe some hardware changes to make the gripper not need as precise positioning, and I might need specific toys with brighter colors.   

So, I think this is all possible with technology that exists, the question is whether it can be done at DIY prices.  (I don't want to spend more than about $400 on the navigation piece).

Hey DJ,
i understand you question but are a bit confused why someone as creative and visionary as you would need a reason for localization in robotics. Well, what is the reason for having a hobby or a home robot at this stage in the first place? For me it is all about having fun, explore new things in robotics, making the most of what exists in this field and evolving new ideas and possibilities. If someone like me likes autonomous robots (I think all do), then having the possibility to give the robot that awareness is one big step for autonomy and more.
#45   — Edited
These are great answers. 

Thanks for the compliment. My creativity and vision is influenced by your challenges and desired outcomes. I need to understand your true needs before I can provide a solution. As I mentioned, a solution requires a problem... right now there’s just I want navigation. I require more details of the expected outcome. It hasn’t been very clear of what the outcomes were. 

So far it kind of looks like you’d want the robot to randomly navigate around the home and pickup things or scan faces?

the random navigation and exploring might be interesting because it would be like a pet. And when it sees someone it knows, it can say hello lol

i wouldn’t use the omron camera though. The cognitive face skill control is super smart: https://synthiam.com/Software/Manual/Cognitive-Face-16210
I agree with most of these requests. An autonomous robot moving about like my neato without running into a fully furnished home or work place. I believe that any company or individual would benefit from this system on their robots. 

My neato app maps the room and then I can simple use my finger on the app to mark off "do not enter" areas. 

User-inserted image
#47   — Edited
I also like the idea of using something like Azure services to analyze video stream in real-time to detect people moving around the room and or to recognize and approach them.
Yes, I believe a robot able to come when called, random travel throughout the house, perform limited task like take to, fetch recognize a face, basically be a " smart" pet is why and what is desired. Program wise I would like to identify key locations. I pick one then the robot goes there. Self mapping would be great.
As hobbiest we are looking at the same picture. Our techical sophistication level is lower but not by much. Our pockets aren't as deep, but we still want to accomplish the same results. With software development and hardware available here, we could,  though at a lesser degree, do what they are saying.

I'm excited !
#51   — Edited
Reviewing the posts I think I would like to see a navigation system using the IPS and Lidar combination. IPS would be the main control with the Lidar used for object advoidance, and allow the tracking around objects when detected.

With this in mind, I am beginning to modify my Adventure Bot which already has a EZR camera mounted on  it. I am adding 3 ultrasonic sensors around the base and a platform for a Lidar. I will place EZ bits near the rear to allow for the IPS transmitter when it becomes available.

I look forward to updates when they become available.
Hello Dj, it has been a while since ideas were given on what was our desires and resons. Based on these, have you any further thoughts ?  Also you had mentioned doing a hack night showing Lidars and how to use them. Any progress ?

I really don't want to see this thread go dry and I understand this is not an easy task. This is a huge endeavor. I hope you can come up with a plan.