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Human following robot

There a quite a few human following robot projects, but mine will be slightly different. Instead of following a human walking from behind, this robot will follow from the side. The tracked person will always be walking in a relatively straight line but in both directions along the same straight path. The easiest analogy is imagine a video camera following a model from the side (sagittal plane) along a catwalk, turning 180deg, then walking back to where he/she started. It seems the Pixy2 would be a good application for this type of human “side” following robot and I have a few questions to verify:

  1. The robot’s motion should be relative to the target human’s torso movement, not the legs/arms/shoulders, for smoother following motion. Will the motion of the arms walking, which temporarily interrupt the target (e.g, a belt with color markers/patterns) affect the smoothness of tracking motion? Can the output motion (e.g., DC motor) be smoothed so that arm swing does not affect it, but still provide fast tracking to follow a person walking?

  2. What is the best type of target marker for this application? I envision the tracked human wearing a belt, but it does not necessarily have to have color markers. Perhaps it could project a laser line to the floor and the Pixy2 simply tracks the movement of the laser line. Or perhaps the belt could have infrared LEDs as markers. The swinging human arms would still temporarily interrupt either tracking target.

  3. If target interruptiong by swing human arms is a problem, what are some possible solutions? Could there be two tracking targets on each side of the target human such that only one is covered by the arms, but the other is still being tracked because one of them is always visible? It is possible to place targets on the shoulders as they would not interrupt tracking, but I would rather find a target placement solution near waist level so that the tracking motion is smoother (the shoulders advance and recede relative to the torsoe during walking which is undesirable for tracking).

  4. For this application, does the Pixy2 even need an Arduino? It seems that it can directly control the robot motor. I may have a second Pixy two track a line that is parallel to the human’s path via a steering servo, but am not sure if two Pixy2’s can communicate together and not need an Arduino or similar (or if the second output is even necessary due to the straight walking).

Any guidance or suggestions are appreciated!


Hi Loddie,
This sounds like a fun project! And it seems to me that you’re asking the right questions.

Regarding whether you need an Arduino or not – Pixy2 has a powerful processor, but usually you need a host controller if you have a specific application in mind. You could consider programming Pixy’s firmware to run custom code, but this tends to be challenging. An Arduino or Raspberry Pi are good host controllers because they allow you to code using a development environment that you’re most comfortable with.

Let us know how it goes :slight_smile:


That makes sense. I thought the Pixy2 processor was more for offloading its specific functions from another microprocessor instead of replacing it. Thank-you for clarifying that aspect! I’ll plan on using an Arduino as I have done several projects previousy on that platform.