RFusion AI Robot Finds Your Misplaced Keys No Matter How Big the Pile of Objects

Imagine this scenario: you are just about to go out the door, but you realize you don’t have your car keys. And you have no idea where you put them. Luckily though, your robot can find them and bring them to you in a heartbeat.
RFusion robotic arm 6 photos
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It is what researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) are working on right now: a robotic system that can find and retrieve missing objects. They’ve already managed to develop a robotic arm that does just that using RF (radio frequency) and vision-based perception.

The robotic arm is called RFusion and its developers describe the prototype a Roomba on steroids. It packs AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities, a camera, and an RF antenna that is attached to its gripper. In order to work, the machine relies on RFID (radio frequency identification) tags, which are easy to find, affordable (you can get them for 3 cents), and don’t require any batteries. These tags are basically some smart labels with barcodes and they use radio frequency technology.

Combining the visual input from its camera with the RF signals from the antenna, RFusion manages to track down a certain object and retrieve it. Thanks to the RF signals, which can travel through most surfaces, the robot can find the object even if it’s within a pile of other things, at the bottom of a box, drawer, etc. As long as the requested item has an RFID tag on it, it will locate and fetch it. First, it zeroes in on its location, then it moves the other objects out of the way, grabs the item, and verifies it to make sure it's got the right one.

While the RFusion is just a prototype for now, and it has only been tested for finding lost keys and the likes, it could of course have a plethora of other applications. According to MIT researchers, it could be used in various industries, finding and sorting merchandise in warehouses, installing car components, or simply offering assistance to the elderly by helping them with their daily tasks.


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