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Robot Scouts Rooms People Can't Enter

By ASU News

April 24, 2014

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Researchers in Arizona State University's (ASU) College of Technology and Innovation are working with Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) to develop a robotic system that can be used to map rooms in three-dimensional space.

The prototype consists of a laser sensor attached to a motor that sweeps all the way around a room, taking 700 to 800 individual scans, each one with about 680 unique data points. The data is then transmitted to a program that creates a picture of the room and all of its contents.

"The ultimate goal is for this to be very much separated from the user," says ASU student Travis Marshall. "It could be useful for surveillance, or pretty much anywhere a person couldn't go, or wouldn't want to go."

The project is part of an SNL competition to create the most accurate sensor possible. However, the Sandia organizers also are interested in learning about the system's limitations. "This project is pretty open-ended. They don't have a definite task that they're trying to accomplish in the end," says ASU professor Angela Sodemann. "They kind of have a series of increasingly difficult challenges that they're trying to meet."

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