NerfBridge: Bringing Real-time, Online Neural Radiance Field Training to Robotics

16 May 2023  ·  Javier Yu, Jun En Low, Keiko Nagami, Mac Schwager ·

This work was presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2023 Workshop on Unconventional Spatial Representations. Neural radiance fields (NeRFs) are a class of implicit scene representations that model 3D environments from color images. NeRFs are expressive, and can model the complex and multi-scale geometry of real world environments, which potentially makes them a powerful tool for robotics applications. Modern NeRF training libraries can generate a photo-realistic NeRF from a static data set in just a few seconds, but are designed for offline use and require a slow pose optimization pre-computation step. In this work we propose NerfBridge, an open-source bridge between the Robot Operating System (ROS) and the popular Nerfstudio library for real-time, online training of NeRFs from a stream of images. NerfBridge enables rapid development of research on applications of NeRFs in robotics by providing an extensible interface to the efficient training pipelines and model libraries provided by Nerfstudio. As an example use case we outline a hardware setup that can be used NerfBridge to train a NeRF from images captured by a camera mounted to a quadrotor in both indoor and outdoor environments. For accompanying video and code

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