Using ToF and RGBD cameras for 3D robot perception and manipulation in human environments

Journal Article (2014)


Intelligent Service Robotics







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Robots, traditionally confined into factories, are nowadays moving to domestic and assistive environments, where they need to deal with complex object shapes, deformable materials, and pose uncertainties at human pace. To attain quick 3D perception, new cameras delivering registered depth and intensity images at a high frame rate hold a lot of promise, and therefore many robotics researchers are now experimenting with structured-light RGBD and Time-of-Flight (ToF) cameras. In this paper both technologies are critically compared to help researchers to evaluate their use in real robots. The focus is on 3D perception at close distances for different types of objects that may be handled by a robot in a human environment. We review three robotics applications. The analysis of several performance aspects indicates the complementarity of the two camera types, since the user-friendliness and higher resolution of RGBD cameras is counterbalanced by the capability of ToF cameras to operate outdoors and perceive details.


manipulators, uncertainty handling.

Scientific reference

G. Alenyà, S. Foix and C. Torras. Using ToF and RGBD cameras for 3D robot perception and manipulation in human environments. Intelligent Service Robotics, 7(4): 211-220, 2014.