Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have built a robotic arm that is capable of finding lost objects.

The robotic arm, dubbed RFusion, features a gripper, a camera and an RF antenna that together can locate concealed items featuring radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, which are battery free tags that send signals to the robot’s antenna.

Source: MITSource: MIT

When attached to commonly lost objects such as keys or credit cards, the RFID tags receive and subsequently bounce off signals sent from the RFusion’s antenna, revealing the location of the tagged object. Because RF signals are capable of traveling through the majority of surfaces, they can also be used to trace RFID tagged objects concealed under objects like clothing, for instance.

The RFusion also uses a reinforcement learning algorithm to further narrow down the location of an object. The researchers report that during testing, the RFusion located such items with a success rate of 96%.

The MIT scientists suggest that the RFusion robotic arm could potentially be used for fulfilling warehouse orders, for identifying and installing electronic or automotive components in a manufacturing setting, or for elder care applications.

For more information about the RFusion, watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of MIT.

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