3D Object Modeling
Research Engineer Romain Thibaux recently worked on teaching the PR2 how to determine the shape of new objects. Using its stereo cameras, the robot can obtain a 3D view of an object. However, in a single view, many parts of the object are not visible. Romain's work incorporates many such views, taken from different angles, into a complete 3D model. The approach uses probabilities to calculate how much evidence is present to suggest that the space does in fact contain part of an object, or does not. These probabilities are then extended to unobserved regions using the heat equation, which diffuses the probabilities through space just as heat diffuses through a frying pan. In the end, the hot region is the region of high probability, and the boundary between the hot and cold regions is the surface of the object.