Conventional vision-based robotic systems that must operate quickly require high video frame rates and consequently high computational costs. Visual response latencies are lower-bound by the frame period, e.g., 20 ms for 50 Hz frame rate. This paper shows how an asynchronous neuromorphic dynamic vision sensor (DVS) silicon retina is used to build a fast self-calibrating robotic goalie, which offers high update rates and low latency at low CPU load. Independent and asynchronous per pixel illumination change events from the DVS signify moving objects and are used in software to track multiple balls. Motor actions to block the most “threatening” ball are based on measured ball positions and velocities. The goalie also sees its single-axis goalie arm and calibrates the motor output map during idle periods so that it can plan open-loop arm movements to desired visual locations. Blocking capability is about 80% for balls shot from 1 m from the goal even with the fastest-shots, and approaches 100% accuracy when the ball does not beat the limits of the servo motor to move the arm to the necessary position in time. Running with standard USB buses under a standard preemptive multitasking operating system (Windows), the goalie robot achieves median update rates of 550 Hz, with latencies of 2.2 ± 2 ms from ball movement to motor command at a peak CPU load of less than 4%. Practical observations and measurements of USB device latency are provided1.
Posted on: July 30, 2014