Sweep, developed by Scanse.io, is a sensor that detects and avoids obstacles using LiDAR – (Light Detection and Ranging). LiDAR is a surveying method that measures distance to a target by illuminating the target with a laser light. LiDAR is used in meteorology, mapping, surveying, and guidance with military, construction and transportation applications.
In the air or on land, it is essential for robotic vehicles to navigate safely – Tyson and the co-founder of Scanse could not find a LiDAR scanner that was powerful enough and easy to use for under $1000, so they made it their mission to develop one. Scanse began raising money on Kickstarter to manufacture the Sweep, a scanning LiDAR sensor with 360 degree sensing capabilities.
Drones and ground robots use Sweep for sense and avoidance as well as navigation and mapping. Its powerful sensing modality and low cost LiDAR is being used in developing autonomous wheelchairs to bring mobility and independence to persons who do not have the ability to operate a mechanical wheelchair.
Sweep is an excellent fit for high school robotics programs. It is easy to set-up, affordable and allows students to explore mapping and navigation problems with little prior experience. The applications for the Sweep are limitless.
Scanse is working on a 3D scanner – updates on their progress are available on their website. The Sweep Scanner is available for purchase on their website January 2017.
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