Today’s edition of the New Scientist news feed includes an article about my PhD research. How nice! They called the article ‘Chaos filter stops robots getting lost’. This is kind of a bizarre title – ‘chaos filter’ seems to be a term of their own invention :). Still, they mostly got things mostly right. I guess that’s journalism!
Whatever about the strange terminology, it’s great to see the research getting out there. It’s also nice to see the feedback from Robert Sim, who made a rather impressive vision-only robotic system with full autonomy a few years ago, still quite a rare accomplishment.
For anyone interested in the details of the system, have a look at my publications page. New Scientist’s description more or less resembles how our system works, but many of the specifics are a little wide of the mark. In particular, we’re not doing hierarchical clustering of visual words as the article describes – instead we learn a Bayesian network that captures the visual word co-occurrence statistics. This achieves a similar effect in that we implicitly learn about objects in the world, but with none of the hard decisions and awkward parameter tuning involved in clustering.