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Cang Ye, Ph.D. - VCU College of Engineering. Richmond, Virginia, VA, US

Cang Ye, Ph.D.

Professor | VCU College of Engineering

Richmond, Virginia, VA, UNITED STATES

Dr. Ye's research interests include Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, 3D Computer Vision, Robotics, and Intelligent Systems.

Education (1)

University of Hong Kong: PhD, Electrical Engineering 1999

Media Appearances (5)

The Latest Technologies for Vision Loss

Next Avenue  online


It’s not available commercially yet, but a device called the RoboCane is in the works. Developed in part through a grant from the National Eye Institute, the robotic cane is the creation of Cang Ye, a computer scientist at Virginia Commonwealth University. It’s equipped with a 3-D camera and computer that detects and recognizes structures and potential obstacles, and is able to alert the user with voice prompts.

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AIMBE Showcases MBE Technology on Capitol Hill

American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering  online


The Co-robotic Cane is one of the eight medical technology demonstrations presented to Congress at the 2017 AIMBE Congressional Medical Technology Exhibition.

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Five innovations harness new technologies for people with visual impairment, blindness

National Eye Institute, NIH  online


Co-Robotic Cane and Robotic Glove are featured at National Eye Institute news release.

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‘Co-Robots’ Capture Congressional Attention

NIH Record  online


Dr. Ye shows off Co-Robotic Cane at 2016 Congressional Robotics Caucus.

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An Autonomous, Self-Steering Robo-Cane, And Other Co-Robots to Come

PopularScience  online


Co-Robotic Cane is featured at PopularScience.

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Patents (2)

Position Tracking System



A position tracking system includes an infrared-sensitive device, such as an infrared camera that generates signals in response to detected infrared light in a field of view of the infrared-sensitive device. A processor is responsive to the signals generated by the infrared-sensitive device for determining a position of the detected infrared light. The processor also generates tilt and pan signals based on the position of the detected infrared light. A tilt and pan mechanism moves a visible-light video camera in response to the tilt and pan signals from the processor. The active infrared light-emitting device includes a loop having at least two infrared light-emitting elements disposed along the loop, on opposite sides of the loop. A control box is disposed in the loop and is in electrical communication with the infrared light-emitting elements. When the loop is disposed around an object that rotates relative to the infrared-sensitive device, a constantly unimpeded viewing channel is provided between the infrared-sensitive device and at least one of the elements due to the positioning of the elements. The position information obtained from the infrared-sensitive device is used to direct a visible-light camera to track the active infrared light-emitting device in a manner similar to that performed by a human camera operator.

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Portable Robotic Device



A portable robotic device (PRD) as well as related devices and methods are described herein. The PRD includes a 3-D imaging sensor configured to acquire corresponding intensity data frames and range data frames of the environment. An imaging processing module configured to identify a matched feature in the intensity data frames, obtain sets of 3-D coordinates representing the matched feature in the range data frames, and determine a pose change of the PRD based on the 3-D coordinates; and perform 3-D data segmentation of the range data frames to extract planar surfaces.

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Research Grants (4)

NRI: Collaborative Research: Quadrupedal Human-Assistive Robotic Platform (Q-HARP)


The objective of the project is to develop a novel quadrupedal human-assistive robotic platform. The compact and lightweight robot will actuated by high-power-density chmo-fluidic actuators and guided by a 3D computer vision system, which also provides a contactless interface for human-robot interaction.

NRI: A Wearable Robotic Object Manipulation Aid for the Visually Impaired

National Eye Institute, NIH 

The research goal is to develop new computer vision and human-robot interaction methods for a co-robotic assistive device that can help a visually impaired individual locate a target object and manipulate the object as needed.

NRI: Small: A Co-Robotic Navigation Aid for the Visually Impaired

NIBIB and National Eye Institute, NIH 

The proposed research’s goal is to develop new computer vision and human-device interaction methods for a co-robotic navigation aid, called Co-Robotic Cane, for the visually impaired.

Smart Cane for Assistive Navigation (SCAN) to Help Blind Persons

Federal Highway Administration, DOT 

The objective of the project is to develop a wayfinding tool that can help a visually impaired individual achieve independent travel in transportation terminals and outdoor pedestrian environments.