The availability of accurate real-time sensing is a critical aspect of the LASR robotics lab. Three independent sensing systems installed in our lab space provide sensing for a wide variety of scenarios. Much of the funding for the systems came from a Defense University Research Instrumentation Program grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Additional funding was provided by NASA’s Johnson Space Center to study human-robot interaction.


The iGPS system is a large-scale metrology solution from Nikon that guarantees sub-millimeter resolution and accuracy over large workspaces at a 40Hz update rate. Active detectors triangulate their position by timing laser pulses received from rotating infrared laser transmitter towers. The long range and high accuracy of the iGPS system is critical for the precision motion emulation experiments performed by HOMER, our Proximity Operations Testbed.


Vicon is an object tracking system widely used in the entertainment industry for motion capture of human subjects and other objects. The system provides sub-millimeter resolution at 120Hz using multiple 16 megapixel digital video cameras. Camera-mounted strobes illuminate small, retro-reflective markers which are processed and identified by the imagers. The simplicity and size of the markers make this system ideal for tracking flying vehicles and flexible bodies.


The IMPULSE system from PhaseSpace is another motion capture system used in the LASR Lab. Each IMPULSE camera operates at a 480Hz frame rate and has two linear imagers which it uses to detect active light-emitting diode (LED) beacons mounted on the target object. The ability of the IMPULSE system to uniquely identify individual LEDs in non-rigid configurations makes it extremely useful for gesture recognition and point tracking tasks.