Indoor drone localization with HTC Vive Lighthouse

Very cool hack, as reported by Hackaday:

The HTC Vive’s Lighthouse localization system is one of the cleverest things we’ve seen in a while. It uses a synchronization flash followed by a swept beam to tell any device that can see the lights exactly where it is in space. Of course, the device has to understand the signals to figure it out.

[Alex Shtuchkin] built a very well documented device that can use these signals to localize itself in your room. For now, the Lighthouse stations are still fairly expensive, but the per-device hardware requirements are quite reasonable. [Alex] has the costs down around ten dollars plus the cost of a microcontroller if your project doesn’t already include one. Indeed, his proof-of-concept is basically a breadboard, three photodiodes, op-amps, and some code.

His demo is awesome! Check it out in the video below. He uses it to teach a quadcopter to land itself back on a charging platform, and it’s able to get there with what looks like a few centimeters of play in any direction — more than good enough to land in the 3D-printed plastic landing thingy. That fixture has a rotating drum that swaps out the battery automatically, readying the drone for another flight.

If this is just the tip of the iceberg of upcoming Lighthouse hacks, we can’t wait!

We loved the Lighthouse at first sight, and we’ve been following its progress into a real product. Heck, we’ve even written up a previous DIY Lighthouse receiver built by [Trammell Hudson]. It’s such an elegant solution to the problem of figuring out where your robot is that we get kinda gushy. Beg your pardon.

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Comment by Patrick Poirier on November 30, 2016 at 7:19pm

WOW , the poor's man MOCAP, this is exactly what I was looking for ... all right , soldering iron ON !!

Comment by Patrick Poirier on November 30, 2016 at 7:29pm

This is how it works

Comment by Hugues on December 1, 2016 at 1:59pm

Thx Patrick that explanation is the best and simplest I've seen of the principle of HTC Vive/Lighthouse

Comment by Al B on December 6, 2016 at 12:57am

@Patrick, you are going need more than just your soldering iron.  You are also gonna need at least one base station. Although you get more accurate position with 2 stations.


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