Use the Intel Realsense T265 tracking camera for way-point robot navigation
+ How To Add This Control To Your Project (Click to Expand)
- Make sure you have the latest version of ARC installed.
- Select the Get button in this page to download the archive file.
- Double click the downloaded archive file to execute installer.
- The installer will add this control to ARC.
- Load ARC and press the Project -> Add Control button from the menu.
- Choose the Navigation category tab.
- Press the Intel Realsense T265 icon to add the control to your project.
With its small form factor and low power consumption, the Intel RealSense Tracking Camera T265 has been designed to give you the tracking performance for your robot. This ARC user-friendly robot skill provides an easy way to use the T265 for way-point navigation.
*Note: this skill requires ARC 2020.12.12.00 or greater
The T265 combined with this robot skill provides your robot a SLAM, or Simultaneous Localization and Mapping solution. It allows your robot to construct a map of an unknown environment while simultaneously keeping track of it’s own location within that environment. Before the days of GPS, sailors would navigate by the stars, using their movements and positions to successfully find their way across oceans. VSLAM uses a combination of cameras and Inertial Measurement Units (IMU) to navigate in a similar way, using visual features in the environment to track it’s way around unknown spaces with accuracy. All of these complicated features are taken care of for you in this ARC robot skill.
Robot Skill Window
The skill has a very minimal interface because it pushes data in the NMS and is generally used by other robot skills (such as The Navigator).
1) START/STOP the Intel T265 connection. Due to a bug from Intel's SDK, the sensor cannot be stopped and restarted in the same session. The only way to restart the T265 connection is to close ARC and reload. We understand this is unconventional and would normally be fixed. However, Intel has claimed they "stopped development and any additional bug fixes on the T265"
2) The confidence of the tracking status between 0 (low) and 3 (highest). In a brightly lit room with many points of interest (not just white walls), the tracking status will be high. Tracking will be low if the room does not have enough light and/or detail for the sensor to track.
3) Log text display for errors and statuses.
1) Radius Offset (mm) is the distance in mm of the T265 from the center of the robot. A negative number is toward the front of the robot, and a positive number is toward the rear. The sensor must be facing 0 degrees toward the front of the robot. The sensor must not be offset to the left or right of the robot.
Here's a video of the Intel RealSense T265 feeding The Navigator skill for way-point navigation
ARC Navigation Messaging System
This skill is part of the ARC navigation messaging system. It is encouraged to read more about the messaging system to understand available skills HERE. This skill is in group #2 of level #3 in the diagram below. This skill contributes telemetry positioning to the cartesian positioning channel of the NMS. Combining this skill with Level #3 Group #1 skills for obstacle avoidance. And for Level #1, The Navigator works well.
This T265 will work both indoors and outdoors. However, bright direct light (sunlight) and darkness will affect performance. Much like how our eyes see, the camera will is also susceptible to glare and lack of resolution in the dark. Because the camera visual data is combined with the IMU, the camera must have reliable visible light. Without the camera being able to detect the environment, the algorithm will be biased to use the IMU and will experience drift, which greatly affects the performance of the sensor's accuracy.
Here is a screenshot of this skill combined with The Navigator in ARC while navigating through a room between two way points.
The T265 does not include a GPS/Compass or any ability to recognize where it is when initialized. This means your robot will have to initialize from a known location and direction to reuse saved maps. Make sure you mark the spot on the ground with masking tape where the robot starts from.
How To Use This
1) Connect your Intel RealSense T265 camera to the computers USB port
2) Load ARC (version must be >= 2020.12.05.00)
3) Add this skill to your project
4) Now we'll need a Navigation skill. Add The Navigator to your project
5) Press START on the Intel RealSense skill and data will begin mapping your robot's position
How Does It Work?
Well, magic! Actually, the camera is quite interesting and it breaks the world down into a point cloud of features. It remembers the visual features so it can re-align itself on the internal map. It uses a VPU, is what Intel calls it. Here's a video of what the camera sees.
We'll be creating tutorials and examples in the upcoming future