Scientists at MIT have built a robotic arm called RFusion. She has a grip, she is also equipped with a camera and a radio frequency antenna for finding lost objects of her owner.
All people at least once in their lives have lost their keys, phones, or credit cards at the most inopportune time – when they ran out of the house on business. Now engineers have developed a special device that can solve such a problem.
In a new article, the researchers explain how a robot can find and retrieve an object, even if it is obscured by other things and completely out of the main camera’s field of view. All the robot owner needs to do is attach RFID tags to their valuables. Recall that RFID is a method of automatic object identification, in which data stored in so-called transponders, or RFID tags, are read or written by means of radio signals. Any RFID system consists of a reader and a transponder. In this case, the reader is at the robot, and the transponder is on the necessary things.
The robot combines camera footage with signals that send RFID tags to narrow down an object’s location. To retrieve an item, the device uses a reinforcement learning algorithm. It allows the robot to make the least amount of movement to get to the object. Once the object is in the gripping hand, it scans it one last time to make sure it is holding the correct item.
The authors of the development hope that their equipment will be useful in production and warehouses in the future. Millions of things are lost in the supply chain every year, and a robot can solve this problem.