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National ICT of Australia (NICTA)

InsectBot Robot

Insect behaviour has been a rich source of inspiration for the field of robotics as the perception and navigation problems encountered by autonomous robots are faced also by insects. This project works towards faster and more robust biologically-inspired, vision-based algorithms for various tasks such as navigation and control.

To facilitate the research interests and goals of insect inspired robotics, primarily Luke Cole has been developing a novel mobile robot platform on a part-time basis since mid-2006, which has been appropriately named InsectBot. Two primary design features distinguish the InsectBot from many of the more common robotics research platforms [ cite: Activmedia, iRobot, Acroname ]. The first primary design feature is horizontal omni-directional motion. The second primary design feature is vertical motion for a stereo camera system that uses a pair of hemispherical view ("fish-eye") camera lens, each providing a field of view. These two design features allow 4 degrees of motion, such as simulating the aerial landing of a honeybee.

Vision Based Localisation

  1. View Selection algorithm for Adaptive Monte Carlo Localisation (AMCL): Weight visual landmarks and orientate vision system to landmarks that best approximate the robots position. [ publication: Localisation using Active Mirror Vision System ]
  2. Novel active vision system: Camera and Motors mounted to fixed platform and view point changed via orientating a mirror. [ publication: Localisation using Active Mirror Vision System ]


Daves Robotic Operating System (DROS) is a set of software modules needed for robotics. The following list is some major software, where Luke Cole was the sole (or primary) developer:

  • Vision/Image Library of Algorithms and Operations - DROS/src/Vision/VisLib/
  • Vision/Image Utilities - DROS/src/Vision/Util/
  • Vision Research: Feature Detector, Object Recognition and others - DROS/src/Vision/Research/
  • General Computer Hardware IO Library - DROS/src/Misc/[Parport,SerialPort,InputEvent].{c|h}
  • MiC Design Program - DROS/src/Robot/Design/MiC/
  • PIC Programmer (see below) - DROS/src/PIC/PICPrg/
  • PIC Firmware for controlling LCDs, RS232, USB2.0, DC Motors and RC Servos - DROS/src/PIC/PICLib/
  • USB2.0 Library - DROS/src/Misc/USBTools.{c|h}
  • Visual localisation with optional view selection technique - DROS/src/Localisation/AMCL/
  • New Localisation Libraries and Utilities - DROS/src/Localisation/MCL/

Electronic Circuits

  • High Speed USB2.0 Universal Computer Interface (ISP1581 IC) and a PIC (16F877).
  • High voltage/current DC motor controller
  • Opto senor interface
  • Parport/Serial computer IO interfaces

Linux PIC Programmer: PICPrg

A Linux serial programmer for Microchip PIC's via the PC parallel port interface.

Visual Object Recognition

Recognition over a large database. [ publication: Visual Object Recognition using Template Matching ]

LEGO© Photo Robot

This LEGO© robot was developed in 2004 to autonomously acquire many images of LEGO© bricks. After 6 months of almost continuous operation, over 200 000 images where acquired from over 100 different LEGO© bricks. Most of this data was then used to research large database object recognition (see above). [ Object set of LEGO© bricks ]


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