Will this be the next revolution in robotics vision?
While recently surfing the internet in hopes of finding the “next big thing” in robotics imaging, I was pleasantly surprised to come across the “PIXY” on the popular Kick Starter website (http://www.kickstarter.com/). Then, imagine my surprise, when Friday night, I received a call from Rich LeGrand, himself, the founder of Charmed Labs, asking if I wanted to do a write-up on PIXY. “Yes,” I said, and I became a backer too…
So What Is PIXY?
PIXY is an open source object tracking, Arduino (and others) compatible video camera that can track up to seven colors and more than one hundred objects at a time.
In the past, we generally had to do extensive on-board processing to have this same functionality. PIXY handles all processing on-board and simply sends out a data stream of the location of your object. All this happens fifty frames per second and is sent to your microcontroller via UART, SPI, I2C, digital or analog output.
There is a single button on PIXY that allows the user to ‘teach’ PIXY the color of the desired object. Would you like to track a purple dinosaur? Hold the object in front of the lens, press and hold the button until an LED changes to the color of the object. The color data is stored in PIXYs flash memory and ready to go to work.
PIXY has Color Codes
The PIXY has the unique ability to identify objects based on color codes. Color codes are a combination of colored tags applied to an object, which allows PIXY to identify that object as a special object. Imagine, color coding doorways to allow your robot to navigate your home or office simply because the robot knows where it is at…
PIXY is Open Source
From the beginning, PIXY was as an open source project. In keeping with that mindset, all hardware designs, schematics and algorithms are completely open source and free to all. If you have the skills, write a new algorithm or two and help the world see even better!
When can We Get One?
As we go to press with the November-December 2013 issue of Robot, available in the September-October time frame, PIXY is in the final stages of development and gathering funding through a Kickstarter campaign for the first production run, scheduled for November of this year. I talked at length with Rich LeGrand and he assured me that they see no hurdles in rolling out product on schedule.
–Ted Macy, Contributing Editor
For more information, please visit the Kickstarter campaign for PIXY: