Researchers’ Night

Friday September 28. NTNU arranged Researchers’ Night 2012, an event gathering more than 1000 prospective NTNU students from Trondheim and surrounding area. The Intelligent Systems group from IDI was of course present, demonstrating a project on Swarm robotics and an intelligent traffic light. Information about the projects and images from the event follow.

One of the stands from the Intelligent Systems Group demonstrated Swarm robotics. The  project featured several simple robots working together to solve a task that would be impossible for any single robot. The idea was inspired by how ants cooperate to gather food items that are too large for any ant to carry alone. A remarkable feature of the project is that coopertion self-emerges without any communication between the robots.

Interested youth watching the robots self-organize
Torbjørn Digernes, rector at NTNU, also found the robots fascinating

The other stand from the group presented an intelligent traffic light. The light uses Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) to decide whether to give a green light, and how long the light should persist. The decision is based on factors about both the car traffic and the waiting pedestrians. By the use of an Xbox Kinect sensor, the system can decide the intentions of pedestrians, allowing it for instance to separate someone just standing around from someone intending to cross the road.

An interesting extension, that could also be realized by the Kinect, is to be able to decide on the timing of lights based on the type of pedestrian, for instance giving a runner a shorter green light than a person in a wheelchair. At the demo, car traffic was simulated, while the kinect would detect waiting persons in the area around the light.

The intelligent traffic light with an Xbox Kinect sensor on top


Simulated car traffic was on display next to the traffic light