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The miniaturization of an autonomous robot requires the integration of components that not only need to satisfy strict spatial constraints, but also need to demonstrate useful functionalities and performance, while demanding low power. For miniaturized autonomous robots that aim at exploring unknown environments, sensors for navigation and for the understanding of basic geometrical features of the environment are of utmost importance for a robot's survival and mission. This paper presents a miniaturized triangulation laser scanner that was developed and characterized for use on a 10 × 10 × 10 cm3 robot. The optimal configurations of the laser sensor on two sides of the robot are discussed, and measurement formulas as well as theoretical resolution are deduced. For indoor applications, the measurement range of the system runs from approximately 80 mm, with 1 mm resolution, up to 600 mm, with 12 mm resolution. The aim of the work is to demonstrate the possibility of extracting basic information from the robot surroundings by means of small, simple, low-power, and low-cost demanding devices, which, in addition, can be scaled down in order to equip even smaller robots.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2011