Research: Plugging In to Unmodified Electrical Outlets by Sensing AC Electric Fields
Using electric field sensing hardware that I designed, I enabled Marvin, Intel Labs Seattle's mobile manipulation research platform, to plug itself in to ordinary, unmodified electrical outlets. The robot only needs to know the approximate location of an outlet on its 2D map to drive up to it and precisely align the prongs with the holes in the socket by sensing the emitted 60Hz electric field.
Marvin plugs himself in, with explanation.
Mayton, B., LeGrand, L., and Smith, J. 2009. Robot, Feed Thyself: Plugging In to Unmodified Electrical Outlets by Sensing Emitted AC Electric Fields. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2010.