Vision Technologies at the 2010 AUSA Meeting and Exhibition
Posted by Ron Buck on November 19, 2010

I am recently returned from the 2010 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exhibition in Washington, DC. You can't go to this conference and not be impressed by two things: the impressive array of technology on display and the incredibly sharp, no-nonsense Warfighters there, participating in the event. Over the course of the event I had lots of conversations about TYZX and its technology, but a few items stand out.

Lasers trying to do stereo vision's job
There are lots of places where lasers were being used to good effect – long distance range finders and target designators come immediately to mind. There were also places where lasers were on display that seemed a poorer fit – obstacle detection on autonomous systems for example. Ease of detection was mentioned as a non-starter to me on a number of occasions.

The impressive array of IR sensor technology on display points the way to a better solution: Real-time stereo with IR sensors. Our CTO, Dr. John Woodfill first used IR with stereo back in 1993. Frame-rate, full field, no-latency 3D sensors. Sounds just like what this market is looking for.

What are 3D vision systems for?
I had a memorable conversation with someone asking about the uses of 3D vision. This person didn't have an immediate interest in UGV/UAVs, but is already a user of TYZX PersonTrack (our person-tracking solution). But what else can 3D vision be used for?

It occurred to me that we at TYZX have a somewhat different perspective on the marketplace. We think that 3D is a useful starting point for any vision application past simple video display and recording. Even if you're not reporting 3D metrics in your application, 3D data is a great starting point for scene segmentation. It's more stable with variable lighting and really helps separate foreground objects from background; especially when used with a range-based background model.

Congratulations to iRobot
Good to see the iRobot team at AUSA with the AwareHead on a PackBot. Sounds like they had a very successful demonstration at this year's Robotics Rodeo at Fort Benning. Congratulations!

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