Intel RealSense tracking camera helps robots navigate without GPS

The T265 gives machines a sense of place.

Intel is back with another RealSense camera, but this one has a slight twist: it's meant to give machines a sense of place. The lengthily-titled RealSense Tracking Camera T265 uses inside-out tracking (that is, it doesn't need outside sensors) to help localize robots and other autonomous machines, particularly in situations where GPS is unreliable or non-existent. A farming robot, for instance, could both map a field as well as adapt on the fly to obstacles like buildings and rocks.

It's relying on the same Myriad 2 processing hardware seen in other recent projects, which takes much of the processing burden away from other devices without heavy energy demands. The only requirements are 1.5W of power, a USB connection and enough memory to power it up. You could stick this on a drone, to put it another way.

Intel ships the T265 on February 28th for $199. You probably won't be using this for homebrew projects, but it will help developers who want to create autonomous devices without having to design their own systems from scratch. You could see this used for truly independent indoor robots as well as drones delivering supplies to remote parts of the world.