New York: Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new visualisation system that can help read robots' minds.
The system combines ceiling-mounted projectors with motion-capture technology and animation software to project a robot's intentions in real time.
"Normally, a robot may make some decision but you cannot quite tell what is going on in its mind - why it is choosing a particular path," said Ali-akbar Agha-mohammadi, a post-doctoral researcher in MIT's Aerospace Controls Lab.
But if you can see the robot's plan projected on the ground, you can connect what it perceives with what it does to make sense of its actions, he added.
The team developed the system as a way to visually represent the robots' decision-making process.
The engineers mounted 18 motion-capture cameras on the ceiling to track multiple robotic vehicles simultaneously.
They then developed computer software that visually renders 'hidden' information such as a robot's possible routes and its perception of an obstacle's position.
They projected this information on the ground in real time as physical robots operated.
The researchers have dubbed the system as measurable virtual reality (MVR) - a spin on conventional virtual reality that is designed to visualise a robot's perceptions and understanding of the world.
"The system may help speed up the development of self-driving cars, package-delivering drones and other autonomous, route-planning vehicles," Agha-mohammadi concluded.