Trade-off between resolution and frame rate of visual tracking of mini-robots on an experimental planar platform


Accurate and fast visual localization is required in many applications of mini-robotics. Obtaining the best possible result for a given platform requires a balanced combination of camera settings and efficient image processing of the acquired image. In this paper, we study the trade-off between a high-resolution and a high-speed acquisition mode of a conventional camera for an experimental platform of magnetically-propelled mini-robots. Specifically, we propose a two stage localization algorithm based on fast pre-location using block matching followed by optical flow correction for subpixel accuracy of localization. In the experimental evaluation, we show that the difference in localization using two images of the same scene in resolutions 1000 × 1000px and 200 × 200px is only 0.2px of the higher resolution. The computational cost of the lower resolution is 16times lower than that of the higher resolution. This allows greater accuracy localization at a higher frame rate, which significantly improves the dynamics of control. Experimental results demonstrate the precision and speed of the proposed algorithm in the task of tracking a magnetically propelled robot on the platform.

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    The empty scene can be updated in every run, or the lighting conditions should not change rapidly. In that case, the maximum does not refer to the robot’s position.

  2. 2.

    Step size is given by an experimentally chosen formula round(size(robot_template,1)/10)+ 2 for best results in high and even low resolutions

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    1 px is equal to 45μ m


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This research has been supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic under the RICE New Technologies and Concepts for Smart Industrial Systems, project No. LO1607 and by the University of West Bohemia under the project SGS-2018-043.

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Correspondence to Martin Juřík.



The algorithms were written in MATLAB 2019a due to fast development and easy connection to our other algorithms (e.g. control algorithms). Using lower-level programming languages would probably increase the overall speed. All tests were run on a computer equipped with Intel Core i5-7200U, 16GB, Windows 10 (64bit). The camera used was a Logitech Brio with these resolutions / frame rate possibilities: UHD/30 FPS, FHD/60 FPS, HD/90 FPS.

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Juřík, M., Šmídl, V. & Mach, F. Trade-off between resolution and frame rate of visual tracking of mini-robots on an experimental planar platform. J Micro-Bio Robot (2020).

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  • Visual localization
  • Block matching
  • Optical flow
  • Mini-robots