Thursday, 13 April 2017

ROS and professional archaeology

It is a long time since we wrote something in this blog, but (like every year) the excavation season leaves us few time for research. For this reason, today I want to break our silence and show some results of our latest studies regarding archeorobotics (the use and development of robotic devices in archaeology).
If you are a regular reader of ATOR, you probably know that since 2012 we are working on optical sensor to achieve a real-time 3D documentation of archaeological evidences (or any kind of data we need to acquire during our projects). Since we started to work on different kind of drones (UAV, ROV, etc...), we discover the nice universe of ROS (Robot Operating System) and SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) algorithms. In this post we summarized our research on this topic, focusing on the use of Kinect. Currently we already used this techniques on professional projects (like large scale surveys or excavations), adapting the system to work with RGB-D devices (in underground environment or during cloudy days) or stereocameras (with direct sun light conditions). For instance we helped our friend Cristian Boscaro of IUAV to test this technology in order to document the tunnels which connect the domes of the Abbay of S. Giustina in Padua. This evening I will post a video which shows a particular use of ROS and Kinect to solve a technical problem we had on the field today. We were working to assist the excavator in doing a trench for a pipeline near the Sanctuary of S. Romedio, in difficult logistic condition. Despite the absence of archaeological evidences, the Superintendence asked us to document the track of the trench, since often what is realize during the execution of this kind of work is different from what is planned in the map. Due to the fact that too few hours were left to accomplish a documentation with GPS and total station and that this strategy would have been pretty tricky (inside the gorge of the river S. Romedio) and not so accurate (for the scattering effect of the wood), we decided to use SLAM to get a real time 3D documentation of the track and later to georeference the result on the LIDAR data which the Autonomous Province of Trento releases freely. The video below shows the final result, which completely satisfies the (high) archaeological tolerance of this project.

That's all for today! Have a nice evening!
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