IR-LOCK, LLC, was created to bring target tracking capabilities to Drones and DIY robotics projects. The existing technologies were either unreliable, complex, or too heavy for lightweight Drone applications. The release of the Pixy vision sensor in March 2014 solved many of the challenges by providing an inexpensive colored marker detector. However, reliable operation in variable outdoor environments was still a formidable problem.
IR-LOCK solves the target tracking problem with custom-manufactured infrared filters, which block out interfering light-sources. This enables reliable tracking of infrared LEDs, which can be easily and cheaply incorporated into hats, armbands, RC cars, robots, etc. This is similar to the technology used in the Oculus Rift head tracking.
The IR-LOCK tracking works outdoors in sunlight, indoors in incandescent lighting, and even in complete darkness. Maximum tracking ranges of 30-60 feet have been achieved, and IR-LOCK is working on increasing the range and improving the tracking reliability.
Technical details and demonstration can be found at the IR-LOCK Kickstarter page.
Thomas Stone is the founder of IR-LOCK. He is a research assistant in the Robust Product Creation Lab (RPC) at Georgia Tech. Previously, he worked in consumer product development both for startup companies and large companies such as Coca-cola, Craftsman, and Jarden.