Quadrotor uses Kinect as an obstacle avoidance system

By on December 8, 2010, 4:09 PM
The number of hacks you can do with the Kinect motion controller keeps growing and the beauty of it all is that they are all unique in their own ways. Researchers from Project STARMAC and the Hybrid Systems Labs over at UC Berkeley are using the gaming accessory as a way to help an autonomous aircraft see where its going.

The Kinect is attached to a Pelican Quadrotor for lift and movement. An onboard computer links the two together to help the whole device navigate. The result is a virtual landscape, created of dotted planar models, which not only helps the aircraft see how high it is flying but also lets it detect objects that are in its flight path. In the demonstration video embedded below, the quadrotor has been pre-programmed with a flight path and is able to avoid collisions with obstacles researchers put in front of it.

"The attached Microsoft Kinect delivers a point cloud to the onboard computer via the ROS kinect driver, which uses the OpenKinect/Freenect project's driver for hardware access," reads the video's description. "A sample consensus algorithm fits a planar model to the points on the floor, and this planar model is fed into the controller as the sensed altitude. All processing is done on the on-board 1.6 GHz Intel Atom based computer, running Linux (Ubuntu 10.04). A VICON motion capture system is used to provide the other necessary degrees of freedom (lateral and yaw) and acts as a safety backup to the Kinect altitude--in case of a dropout in the altitude reading from the Kinect data, the VICON based reading is used instead. In this video however, the safety backup was not needed."

For those who just can't get enough of Kinect hacks, here's another video:

"We've taken this exciting opportunity to port our popular DaVinci experience to the Kinect platform," reads a message on the Razorfish website. "Gestures are used to create objects and control the physics of the environment. Your hands appear in the interface which allows you to literally grab objects out of thin air and move them in the environment. Additional gestures allow you to affect the gravity, magnetism and attraction."

User Comments: 8

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TeamworkGuy2 said:

Wow, the Kinect has come so far in such a short amount of time.

It is so exiting to read the different TS news reports on the cool things being done with the Kinect.

Cota Cota said:

Im sure programmers cant sleep these days.

PC uno, XBOX nada.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I think its funny, users have found MORE uses for Kinect on the PC than on the Xbox!

PC nerd PC nerd said:

Wow. So Microsoft products aren't all useless and broken? I'm surprised.

Jokes aside, that Quadrotor looks bloody amazing. Incredible piece of tech.

Guest said:

Well, maybe ten more years and we have terminators with "mini" Kinect built in their skulls targeting humans. And Skynet would form itself as a Microsoft subdivision unofficially managed by Apple. Unfortunately we never learn anything until its too late.

edison5do said:

burty117 said:

I think its funny, users have found MORE uses for Kinect on the PC than on the Xbox!

You got the point on that man, thereĀ's hundreds of uses to this little device, I found it amazin.

Guest said:

Brilliant, simply brilliant... I guess I need to work on miniaturizing the Kinect now, to make my millions before we are all goners.

Guest said:

Maybe Microsoft will learn to embrace open source. :)

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