US military builds laser backpack for 3D indoor mapping
Only a matter of time until Google gets involved
Military-funded researchers in the US have developed a backpack system containing cameras, lasers and inertial sensors which can be carried around indoors and generate a detailed, accurate 3D map of the spaces it moves through.
Now we just need to get the damn mole cruiser finished.
"We have also developed novel sensor fusion algorithms that use cameras, lasers range finders and inertial measurement units to generate a textured, photo-realistic, 3D model that can operate without GPS input and that is a big challenge," says Dr Avideh Zakor, lead engineer on the mapperpack.
"It is typical of the work that Professor Zakhor has done for the [US military research labs] over the years, that she meets these challenges head-on, and in most cases solves the problem," enthuses Dr Jon Sjogren of the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research, which contributed funding to the project.
The backpack could be used to create accurate 3D models of buildings or underground tunnel complexes, which are difficult to map accurately using conventional tools such as satellite navigation - whose signals can't penetrate indoors or underground.
"We have already generated 3D models of two stories of the electrical engineering building at UC Berkeley, including the stairway and that is a first," says Zakhor. ®
1 a first or preliminary version of a device or vehicle from which other forms are developed:
"the firm is testing a prototype of the weapon"
Because clearly some of those here have never come across the word before.
Some of the criticism is just a little unfair
It a patrol goes wandering through a tunnel complex, its a means of producing a map that can be used by later patrols, unless you are assuming that every patrol then "holds the ground" reconnoitered and signposts it nicely, with no chance of it being re-taken by the enemy.
The alternative is drawing something (either as you go or later, from memory) which might have to represent a three dimenional complex with accurate measurements, originally only seen with not-too-bright torchlight. If you remember back to your D&D days (go on, we all had them), its probably not so easy to produce something with all the intricacies that might be required for tactical operations.
As an infanteer, I certainly wouldnt want to be surprised by some enemy lurking in a concealed tunnel that a previous patrol had not noticed.
Made for Games
I can see this being put to use for Games! Lidar scans of real buildings, then put into games like MOH, GTA and Swat!
iracing started it all..