Robot Safety Monitoring using Programmable Light Curtains

Karnik Ram
Shobhit Aggarwal
Robert Tamburo
Siddharth Ancha
Srinivasa Narasimhan


As factories continue to evolve into collaborative spaces, with multiple robots working together with human supervisors in the loop, the problem of ensuring safety for all actors involved becomes critical. Presently, laser-based light curtain sensors are widely used in factories for safety monitoring. While these sensors have high accuracy standards, they are difficult to reconfigure and can only monitor a fixed user-defined region of space, and are typically expensive. We leverage a recently-developed controllable depth sensor, Programmable Light Curtains, for building an inexpensive and flexible real-time safety monitoring system. This system can project tight dynamic safety envelopes that enables fence-less human-robot collaboration, can scale to monitor multiple robots with few sensors, and by utilizing each sensor as a 3D depth sensor the system can also monitor the entire scene within its field of view. We deploy this system in a real testbed environment with four robot arms and demonstrate its capabilities as a powerful safety monitoring solution while being significantly cheaper and not compromising on accuracy.

Technical Report

RP-VIO: Robust Plane-based Visual-Inertial Odometry for Dynamic Environments

Karnik Ram, Shobhit Aggarwal, Robert Tamburo, Siddharth Ancha, Srinivasa Narasimhan


Presentation Video

Programmable light curtains

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This project was supported by the CMU Manufacturing Futures Institute. Webpage template.