A new MIT Smart Home robot will find your lost car keys

We all misplaced our house keys, phones, or credit cards at some point, and we probably all wished we had a special device that could quickly find it for us as we left the house.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have fulfilled the wishes of many people by building a shoulder-robot called RFusion, which uses a grapple, camera and radio frequency (RF) antenna to locate lost objects for its owner, press release reveals.

IN new paper, the researchers explain how the robot can impressively locate and retrieve an element, even if it is covered by other objects and completely out of range of the main camera. All the robot owner has to do is attach RFID tags — cheap labels without batteries that send signals to the antenna — to their valuables.

“This idea of ​​being able to find items in a chaotic world is an open problem that we’ve been working on for several years. Having robots that can look for things under a pile is a growing need in the industry today. You can think of it as Roomba right now. of steroids, but in the near future this could have many applications in the production and storage environment, “senior author Fadel Adib explained in a statement to MIT.

Future assistant for a smart home

The robot combines camera footage with signals sent by RFID tags to narrow the location of the object. Once he has a general idea, he uses a learning support approach to sift through each detritus to pick up the missing object. The amplification training algorithm used in RFusion allows the machine to make as few movements as possible to reach the object, making it increasingly efficient. After holding the object in his hand for grasping, he can scan it one last time to make sure he is holding the correct object.

The new robotic arm complements MIT’s other recent work “digger’s finger” which can be used to dig up rubble or soil to locate underground bombs. This machine uses a tactile sensor a technology called GelSight which creates detailed 3D maps by artificial touch. While RFusion can be used for more mundane tasks smart home assistant, the good news is that tests have shown that it can locate incorrectly placed objects hidden under a pile with 96 percent success, which means that soon we may never have to worry again when it comes to retrieving keys from our house. in a panicked rush when we are late for a meeting. The researchers also hope that their machine can be implemented in production and storage conditions in the future, where many products are lost in the supply chain every year.

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