About this project
Sweep is a scanning LiDAR sensor designed to bring powerful 360 degree sensing capabilities to everyone for an affordable price.
We wanted a scanning LiDAR for our projects and couldn’t findanything that was powerful enough and easy to use for a price we could afford. Comparable sensors are $1000 and up, so we set out to develop one ourselves.
We’re raising money on Kickstarter to manufacture Sweep so we can get them into the hands of makers, roboticists, drone enthusiasts and students. We’re really excited about making scanning LiDAR available to everyone!
Use Sweep for sense and avoid as well as navigation mapping. We'll provide all the tools needed to start developing more autonomy into your drone.
"At Dispatch, we are very excited by Sweep. LiDAR is a very powerful sensing modality and low-cost LiDAR will have significant impact as we develop and grow our autonomous vehicle fleet."
Uriah Baalke Dispatch Robotics
"The Sweep is a great fit for high school robotics. It is easy to setup and use, robust, and is at an incredible price point. Students can quickly explore mapping and navigation problems with little prior experience. Best yet, the Sweep is virtually student-proof – it can survive a high school lab environment."
Charles Williams Mentor, Cupertino High School Robotics
Combining technology and art can produce really fun and interesting pieces. Use Sweep to detect where someone is or activate different components to make your next art project interactive!
Have you ever wanted to quickly get the dimensions of a room? Measuring tapes are a hassle! Use Sweep to quickly grab a room's dimensions in a couple seconds.
Security / People Tracking
Sweep can be used to create a "virtual curtain", meaning it will sense anything that interrupts a particular area. Use it to detect when someone walks through a doorway or tries to touch something they shouldn't! You can also use Sweep to track people moving within a space. Perhaps you want to have your smart lights switch off when you leave a room and before you enter another.
Whatever you can imagine!
Sweep is already useful for several applications, but there are so many more that haven't been discovered yet and we're super excited to see what you come up with!
What makes Sweep different?
Sweep utilizes a sensing technique that differs from most other LiDAR on the market, which allows us to use lower power components to perform long range measurements. This lowers the cost of the components, but requires more time per measurement. Sweep is the first commercial scanning LiDAR that utilizes this technology.
Sweep is designed to be modular! As we continue to improve the capabilities of the sensor module, we'll be able to offer upgrades without the need to replace the entire scanner.
The scanning capabilities of the Sweep allow you to adjust the rotation speed on the fly so you can slow it down for more detail, or speed it up for fast reaction times.
Sweep uses a laser that has been tested to be eye safe (even if you decide to stare at it straight on - not advised). It operates in the infrared spectrum which is invisible to the human eye.
Communicating with Sweep is really simple! We're including our small adapter for those who want to connect to any computer using USB. If you want to connect Sweep to lower level controllers, just hook it up directly to UART.
We designed Sweep to be very small and light! It fits right in the palm of your hand and weighs a tad less than most smart phones today. Sweep is also really quiet, something you may have never thought about until you've used one that makes annoying sounds as it spins. You won't be hearing this scanner.
For more detailed info checkout the datasheet here:
What each Sweep Scanner includes
Our visualizer allows you to view the sensor data (like this room with someone walking around above), record and playback data, change settings, and update the firmware. It will be available on Linux, Windows, and OS X.
We’ve already developed a ROS driver for Sweep as well as an example publisher node to start using Sweep in ROS right away. Here is an example ROS bag file recorded from the hallway scene in our video.
Using Sweep in your own project starts with the SDK. We're developing drivers for several major languages and will be creating example projects for platforms like Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and more.
Example Projects / Drivers
These software projects and drivers are already in development and will be released as soon as they are complete.
Pixhawk autopilot driver: This driver will make available the angle and distance for the centroid of nearest object bodies within range. This uses a special mode with Sweep and does not require additional processing by the flight controller.
National Instruments roboRIO driver: This driver will provide the complete scan data on each complete rotation which can then be used to guide a robot.
Movement Tracker: This example application for the Raspberry Pi will allow you to track moving bodies within a space. Set threshold areas to activate or deactivate when entering or leaving them. Trigger an IFTTT recipe using the Maker Channel to do things like turn lights or security systems on/off.
Room Dimensions: This example application for the Raspberry Pi will output room measurements with centimeter accuracy.
We have three main goals for this kickstarter project:
- Kick off production - pay for tooling / high volume component orders
- Continue development of our visualizer application
- Develop more useful example projects like the ones mentioned above and more!
We are committed to delivering a high quality product. We have a beta tester community that has been giving valuable feedback on our development units. Once we get production units from our contract manufacturer, we will go through another round of development tests before shipping to our customers.
We have a long standing relationship with our PCB manufacturer that has produced quality boards from the beginning and will continue to produce our boards for production.
The majority of our product will be made from high strength injection molded plastic. We have extensive experience designing injection molded components, and will be using a mold house that has produced high quality parts for us in the past.
Our team has diverse engineering and product design backgrounds. We've worked on projects ranging from robotic chassis design to space grade LiDAR systems at companies like iRobot, ASC, and ATK.
With more than a decade of experience taking products to market, we are confident we have what it takes to make this project successful.
We're constantly thinking of ways to improve and enhance the capabilities of Sweep. We will be collaborating with the community to develop add-on kits for a wide range of applications. We'll be releasing all the necessary design files, part lists, and software examples if applicable for these kits and future ones.
This is a spherical scan we did of a backyard with the kit below
Spherical Scanning is really the next step. We've designed a mounting bracket for Robotis Dynamixel servos that will rotate the Sweep for spherical scans. We'll be sharing the design files and software for this shortly after the campaign. We are not providing any of the components of this kit as part of the campaign.
Sweep is designed to work well outdoors, but has not yet been hardened against the elements. If you want to use Sweep in dusty or wet environments, you're going to need some protection. We are developing a special enclosure that will allow Sweep to operate in much rougher conditions. We are not providing any of the components of this kit as part of the campaign.
If you want to share news of Sweep on your news outlet, we've provided a press kit here.
Risks and challenges
Delivering Sweep on time is really important to us.
Hardware products are heavily contingent on budget and manufacturing time. We've been working with our manufactures for months to align our expectations.
We realize that issues sometimes arise despite our best efforts to plan for them. We will keep you up to date on all our progress and be transparent about our outlook at every stage.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Our LiDAR is best suited for detecting obstacles and making 2D maps on moving vehicles - that is to say birds eye view maps of obstacles. In order to make terrain maps, it would need to be mounted horizontally. A likely scenario might be using two LiDAR sensors, one mounted vertically to detect surrounding obstacles, and another mounted horizontally to detect the ground surface. The accuracy of our sensor is around 2% of the measured distance. The data rate is 500 samples/second, and we recommend running the sensor at around a 2.5Hz scan rate. This gives you 200 points per 360 degree scan, with an angular resolution of 1.8 degrees. Depending on how accurate you want your ground model to be, you would need to fly the drone slowly over the terrain. If you were flying lets say 3 meters off the ground and moving forward around 19cm per second (0.43 miles per hour), the typical 1.8 degree angular resolution would give you points about every 9.5cm.
Sweep uses an entirely new sensor, which has a different connector. This new sensor is better tuned for scanning applications.
Sweep uses a class 1 laser and has been eye safety tested and approved. It is classified EN/IEC 60825-1 2007. We will have all the required certifications.
Garmin recently acquired Pulsed Light 3D - will you be able to supply enough LiDAR Lite sensors for Sweep?
We have been working with Pulsed Light 3D (now Garmin) for over a year. Sweep uses a future version of the LiDAR Lite which is being supplied to us directly.
Yes, Sweep will be CE certified. We are getting all the appropriate certifications to sell Sweep globally.
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