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Magic Eye

Ars Electronica Festival @JKU

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Seeing, as the most important human sense, forms the basis for capturing the environment, which is a prerequisite for safe movement or the navigation of vehicles and autonomous machines. However, seeing with light is restricted by fog, dust, obstacles, walls or, generally speaking, by media that cannot be penetrated by electromagnetic waves from the  isible part of the spectrum. While micro- and millimeter-waves also allow perception of the environment and can safely penetrate numerous obstacles, the resolution of a radar image is very limited and colorless. In the *Magic Eye* project, the coordinated movement of a quadruped robot is symbiotically combined with the measurement of millimeter-wave reflections in order to detect obstacles and hidden objects. By means of mathematical transformations and fusion of the data, an image of the environment with significantly higher resolution is created as a result of the virtual aperture created by the movement, from which the name SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) is derived. In connection with highly integrated radar sensors, it is to be expected that SAR as a symbiosis of measurement and movement will play an important role in radar-based path planning and map generation for highly automated driving in the future.

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„The symbiotic operation of the robot dog and the radar unit leads to a completely new sense of sight for the robot working even in complete darkness or fog.“
Prof. Andreas Stelzer



The mechatronic system consists of sensors and actuators. The legged robot is accompanied with novel next-generation radar sensors, seeing by day or night, in rain or fog. Precise signal processing allows the creation of a map of the surroundings to further enable autonomous navigation through the previously mapped scenery even under harsh conditions.

„Lots of research problems can be addressed in making such robots more and more robust to fulfill future tasks.“
Prof. Andreas Müller
„This project puts us into the position of presenting the magic of invisible electromagnetic waves and its capabilities to a broader audience.“
Assoz. Prof. Reinhard Feger