Field of View
One drawback of the basic models is that each of the cots bots has a fairly limited field of view. This can lead to several problems. It makes it difficult for the bots to see obstacles that are next to them, sometimes causing them to turn towards obstacles right after they pass them. It is difficult to collect wide angle or even panaromic image data without stopping to turn around. To watch for obstacles on the ground the camera is often angled slightly downwards making the bots' ability to see objects high up, for example faces, very limited.
These problems that have been addessed in other robots; we present a brief overview of some of the most promising approaches:
- Simply have the bot do lots of turns.
- Attach a second camera pointed in another direction. This is particularly easy on the netbook bot which has multiple USB ports and is particularly useful for looking 'up' at faces.
- A fisheye lens. The 'brains' should be powerful enough to invert the distortion if desired, but navigation shouldn't be difficult using the distorted image.
- A parabolic mirror. An extreme approach is to face the camera directly up and place a parabolic mirror directly above it. This gives th bot a full 360 degree view. Again the 'brains' of the bots should be powerful enough to invert the distortion of the mirror if necessary.