HyperCube: A Small Lensless Position Sensing Device for the Tracking of Flickering Infrared LEDs

  • Raharijaona Thibaut
  • Mignon Paul
  • Juston Raphaël
  • Kerhuel Lubin
  • Viollet Stephane

  • Infrared sensing
  • Visual motion
  • Photodetector
  • Motion tracking
  • Mobile robots


An innovative insect-based visual sensor is designed to perform active marker tracking. Without any optics and a field-of-view of about 60 degrees, a novel miniature visual sensor is able to locate flickering markers (LEDs) with an accuracy much greater than the one dictated by the pixel pitch. With a size of only 1 cm(3) and a mass of only 0.33 g, the lensless sensor, called HyperCube, is dedicated to 3D motion tracking and fits perfectly with the drastic constraints imposed by micro-aerial vehicles. Only three photosensors are placed on each side of the cubic configuration of the sensing device, making this sensor very inexpensive and light. HyperCube provides the azimuth and elevation of infrared LEDs flickering at a high frequency (>1 kHz) with a precision of 0.5 degrees. The minimalistic design in terms of small size, low mass and low power consumption of this visual sensor makes it suitable for many applications in the field of the cooperative flight of unmanned aerial vehicles and, more generally, robotic applications requiring active beacons. Experimental results show that HyperCube provides useful angular measurements that can be used to estimate the relative position between the sensor and the flickering infrared markers.