Foveal Extra-vehicular Activity Helper-Retriever

Period of Performance: 01/01/1995 - 12/31/1995

$600K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Amherst Systems, Inc.
30 Wilson Road
Buffalo, NY 14221
Principal Investigator

Abstract

A key robot visual system resource is acuity, and yet this is fixed in conventional uniform acuity machine vision; regions with little or no relevance to the robot's mission are sampled at the same resolution as key features, occupying valuable signal bandwidth and computational resources, and increasing system latencies. Foveal active vision features imaging sensors and signal processing with graded acuity, and context sensitive sensor gaze control, analogous to that prevalent throughout vertebrate vision. Foveal systems operate more efficiently because resolution is treated as a dynamically allocatable resource. Wide field-of-view, localized high acuity, and fast frame rates are achieved while minimizing irrelevant sensor data. The maturation of foveal technology is hampered by the need for fast and intelligent gaze control. This program will prototype a mobile robot foveal vision system which relies on an agent based grounded layered architecture with integrated reasoning for gaze control. This architecture will facilitate the development of successful active vision behaviors (sensor pointing and platform motion) required for operation in a "dynamic space environment". Learning techniques will be investigated which accelerate attentive active vision behaviors by evolving them into preattentive responses.