Robbel's creation can generate detailed 3D maps of its surroundings and wirelessly send them to a host computer. It can also detect nearby humans and track their movements to understand where they want it to go. Robbel's research is aimed at creating a team of robots that could work together and find missing or trapped humans. Robbel admits there's some concerns over whether or not a distressed person's gesture commands should be obeyed but he believes there's potential for a robot that found one victim could use their motions to find the next one more quickly.
Kinect has grabbed the attention of hackers trying to enable its motion-sensing capabilities in environments that don't include an Xbox. The result has been open source Kinect drivers, multitouch capabilities, interaction with Windows 7 and Mac OS X, and 3D camera applications. Now we've got robotics. What's next?