iLiDAR Wants to Democratize LiDAR Data
Tom Spendlove posted on November 27, 2018 |

Byung-Hwa Park and Byeongho Song are makers and engineers who worked together at the Pohang University of Sciences and Technology robotics club. They wanted a LiDAR sensor for their projects but couldn’t find an affordable system and decided to develop their own tool, and are currently hosting a crowdfunding campaign for iLiDAR, their attempt at creating LiDAR for everyone.

The novelty of the iLiDAR is the ability to scan in 180 degree field of vision without requiring the head unit to rotate. iLiDAR needs to use an Arduino fitted with Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) to achieve this, and the device can scan at a range between 15 centimeters and 6 meters, and the specification sheet says that white targets can be scanned with a range up to 8 meters. The unit is 2.5 x 3.5 x 11 centimeters and weighs 55 grams. Refresh rate can bump up to 100 Hertz for applications that require a higher refresh rate. The operating temperature is between 5 and 30 degrees Celsius. Users can choose the iLiDAR Configurator to customize the device, and the system also supports a C and C++ open Software Development Kit that works with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Jetson.

There are several demonstration videos on the campaign page, showing the iLiDAR being used to scan a lecture hall, to distinguish between objects in a room, and one where the device is strapped to a robot that takes real time data while it drives. While I understand that one of the main goals is a device that can be low cost and allow anyone to use LiDAR, it feels like data storage or building of a database for its surroundings would be a great addition to the system. Once the scanner knows where the objects are in a room, for example, can the software track the movement of the device as you walk around the room? Hopefully these are additions that the users can develop as Open Source improvements as the iLiDAR is released into the wild. The Kickstarter campaign ends on December 26, 2018.

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