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Intel’s RealSense camera helps machines and gadgets navigate using ‘3D localization’

intel realsense t265 camera

To help machines like robots and drones navigate, Intel announces the RealSense T265 tracking camera that uses cues or landmarks to tell them where they are in the world. The camera can also be used to power AR/VR solutions and even mobile phones, says Intel.

Intel’s smart mapping camera, equipped with twin fish-eye cameras, is particularly useful indoors, as it can precisely locate itself in 3D space without resorting to GPS or other external data. Inside the standalone camera is Intel’s Movidius Myriad 2 vision processing unit that allows using data from the twin cameras for simultaneous localization and mapping (V-SLAM), without requiring cloud connectivity.

This also means the camera uses onboard sensors for pinpointing locations rather than external sensors – it is called inside-out tracking. With T265, since the processing happens on the edge, machines can move around “more intelligently” with the help of fresh mapping data every time, says Intel.

 “You can use things like patterns on the wall or on the floor or on the ceiling to infer your location, which would not be observable with a depth camera or lidar,” a company spokesperson told a news website in an interview.

The fish-eye cameras each have an approximately 170-degree field of view and can deliver 6-degree-of-freedom (6DoF) tracking. Together with the VPU, they can continuously build and update a map of their surroundings while all it needs is 1.5 watts of power and a USB 2.0/ 3.0 connection to operate.

The RealSense T265 cameras, priced at $199 each, are available for preorders and the products will start shipping from Feb 28th, the company confirmed.

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