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MIT Drone Finds Its Way Using Kinect Vision

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the robots-are-dead dept.

The Military 77

garymortimer writes "This MIT multicopter is able to fly in GPS denied environments by creating a 3D map of its surroundings on the fly (no pun intended) based on point clouds generated by a Kinect. Also pretty handy for avoiding trees and other obstacles outside at low level. This processing is onboard, unlike other systems that depend on motion capture rigs."

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ROFL Copter (3, Funny)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666362)

Remote Objective Forensic Lead Copter.

Re:ROFLMFAO Copter (1)

Tigger's Pet (130655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666394)

Remote Objective Forensic Lead MIT Funded And Open-source Copter - Well, we can hope.

Re:ROFLMFAO Copter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35672518)

Robotic Optical Flight Location Copter

Humor takes a dive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35666392)

...on the fly (no pun intended)...

Heehee, oh stop my sides are getting soar

Re:Humor takes a dive (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666530)

Humor takes a dive

No, but that will be the case with the Kinect submarine.

Thank you, thank you! I'll be here all week!

How much would this have cost... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35666428)

before the Kinect came out?

Frankly, I'm pretty sure most of this stuff *already* existed before the Kinect came out. I'm just wondering exactly how much Microsoft mass producing the hardware saved the researchers on having to make their own devices.

I imagine it's quite a bit since we went from "hardly any talk about robot vision except about how goddamned hard it is" to "A NEW ROBOT/CAMERA/WHAT HAVE YOU USING THE KINECT AS ITS EYEBALLS!!!!!" every week once the Kinect was out for a month.

I'm complaining, yeah, but I'm also trying to put things into perspective. These aren't leaps and bounds of tech, they're just leaps and bounds of people actually making use of the damned hardware since they don't have to sell their second child to pay for it.

Crowdsourcing I guess? Instead of 2-3 sterile environments trying to figure out robot vision algorithms, now a bajillion institutes and hobbyists are working on the problem. I guess one way or the other, this is a big step in the fields of autonomous robotics and so on. Now if only we could work on the goddamned speech recognition software... The hardware for that's been around for ages and yet people haven't been messing about with it as much as they do with the Kinect.

Where's the algorithm? (2)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666600)

These aren't leaps and bounds of tech, they're just leaps and bounds of people actually making use of the damned hardware since they don't have to sell their second child to pay for it.

Crowdsourcing I guess? Instead of 2-3 sterile environments trying to figure out robot vision algorithms, now a bajillion institutes and hobbyists are working on the problem

Working on *which* problem exactly?

I don't see any of those people working on artificial vision algorithms. What they are doing is using a "good enough" vision algorithm which comes bundled with the hardware to develop applications for artificial vision.

 

Re:How much would this have cost... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666632)

Unfortunately, the price isn't listed [primesense.com] ; but one of their salesdrones would probably give you a number upon request.

Re:How much would this have cost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35685358)

It's $250 for a PSDK.

Re:How much would this have cost... (2)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666698)

How much would this have cost before the Kinect came out?

A lot. Please see an earlier comment I made [slashdot.org] on the exact same issue: prior to the launch of the Kinect, if you wanted an accurate depth map on a robot, you had to use LIDAR sensors. Not only are those expensive, but they're both heavy and somewhat unreliable (since they have moving parts in the form of rapidly spinning mirrors) which rules out mounting them on a copter. There are ways to estimate depth from 2D images alone, but then accuracy suffers immensely. With Kinect you get the best of both worlds.

Re:How much would this have cost... (2)

emj (15659) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666994)

Actually 2 years back a quadcopter were flying in the same hall [diydrones.com] using LIDAR. I think I found a price of ~$5000 for the units they used, but my memory might be an order of magnitude wrong.

You can get along way with 2D images, a lot further than you think, of course with this tech it's easier.

Re:How much would this have cost... (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35667508)

The best LIDAR you can buy for the size is probably the Hokuyo [hokuyo-aut.jp] UTM and URG. Definitely small enough and light enough to mount on a copter. They'll set you back $2000-$6000 though. To get a 3D image out of them you need to pivot them on the y-axis. They also generate a lot of heat, and suck up a lot of energy.

Crowdsourcing I guess? Instead of 2-3 sterile environments trying to figure out robot vision algorithms, now a bajillion institutes and hobbyists are working on the problem.

Not really. The people who have been doing the amazing research are still doing it; the really exciting stuff is still coming out of CMU, MIT, Stanford, etc. It's just that now the hobbyist can implement the research on their own platforms.

Re:How much would this have cost... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 3 years ago | (#35668302)

I guess one way or the other, this is a big step in the fields of autonomous robotics and so on. Now if only we could work on the goddamned speech recognition software...

strangely enough, you can blame Microsoft for that!!! They got the technology from L&H in a technology swap, incorporated speech recognition into word etc. and then sat on it and never bothered to do anything with it... meanwhile L&H went belly up as there was no reason for those needing speech recognition software to buy it separately as it was already in MS Office...

Re:How much would this have cost... (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 3 years ago | (#35668996)

They also bought up Entropic ..then sort of open sourced it, then abandoned it.

Nuance has bought up most of the speech recognition companies and they have a fairly strong product, but there just haven't been any big leaps in the field since HMM's were first used.

Re:How much would this have cost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35668628)

Since the Kinect is based off of the assets acquired from 3DV ZCam [wikipedia.org] , only US $69.99 when bundled with quadrocopter.

Kids these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35666446)

on the fly (no pun intended)

Kids these days, wasting perfectly good puns like that.

Re:Kids these days (1)

khr (708262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666664)

Yeah, they should be punished for it...

I don't buy it (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666452)

This MIT multicopter is able to fly in GPS denied environments by creating a 3D map of its surroundings on the fly (no pun intended) based on point clouds generated by a Kinect.

No pun intended = "I came up with a weak pun, but I don't want people to blame me for it"

Re:I don't buy it (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666676)

Seems to me it's more like "Look, I made a funny! Didn't you see it?!"

Re:I don't buy it (2)

uniquename72 (1169497) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666832)

Nobody cares if your puns were intended. [thebestpag...iverse.net]

Re:I don't buy it (0)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35667496)

Nobody cares if your puns were intended.

I agree no one cares if puns are intended or not but the link means that poster is a far bigger douche and idiot than anyone who actually says their pun is intended or not. Seriously, if someone pointing out their puns is enough to get you this cranked, you're already a cherry on a loser sundae.

The phrase "no pun intended" makes me want to band saw my dick off just in case I'm the last man alive and I have to risk repopulating Earth with some moron's incapable vagina. There's no such thing as an unintentional pun; the act of typing the phrase "no pun intended" makes it intentional. If your pun truly wasn't intended, then why didn't you erase it and write something else, asshole?

Seriously, this guy is such a douche, he ignorantly and very successfully argues everyone should go out of their way to make puns, and point them out, just so we can see this douche mutilate himself.

Aside from that, he completely ignores the more common issue in that someone speaking off the cuff may unintentionally say and verbally note the pun was not intentional. Frequently this is to convey the subject matter is not one of levity as the speaker may have accidentally implied by the use of a pun. Furthermore, it acts to convey sensitivity to the subject matter in hopes of assuring offense was not intended. It is far more likely, as humans frequently do, this verbal offense and defense carried over to the written word without much thought. Which again, underscores what a complete douche bag that guy is. Seriously, to make such a big deal of what is all too frequently, absolutely not as he portraits.

Seriously, his douche baggery is far more offensive than anyone he actually portraits in an effort to oh-so-brilliantly say, look at me, I'm so much smarter than everyone and therefore will cast bolts from my mighty mountain of douche bag intellect.

It appears he has succeeded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35667936)

I have to suspect you were taking this man seriously and did not know who he is, and that post flew over your head. That is his style of writing, it's his objective to be as offensive, egoistic and ostensibly manly as possible to the point it becomes amusing and entertaining to the reader (while still delivering something vaguely similar to a point beneath all that verbal vomit). I would like to see how you'd rage if you read his other posts, like a completely clueless person who watches the Onion News Network for the first time and blogs about it.

But far be it from me to stop you from taking things seriously and not knowing where the joke begins.

Re:It appears he has succeeded (0)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35670264)

So you're saying he's above the bar to which he measures others. That alone invalidates your position. If he is above his own remarks, and lame bemusement, doesn't that mean he's just a blow hard who doesn't have anything to contribute in the first place? That's rhetorical...which brings us full circle and back to my original post.

Re:It appears he has succeeded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35671838)

Let me guess - you don't own a tv? right?

Re:I don't buy it (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35667904)

It's not even a pun. That's what "on the fly" means. While flying. My sig is finally apropos.

Tip of the hat to Microsoft (3, Insightful)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666472)

As much as it's unpopular, we should all thank Microsoft for putting this great piece of kit out in the public and even moreso for not going after the API which is floatng out there like many corporations do nowadays.

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666564)

Lets not forget MS didn't invent it, they wrapped in a package and sold it. I don't think they could really have a hope stopping any API.

What corporation would go after a completely home brown API package for a physical device?

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35666644)

They may not have invented the base technology but they did develop it into a meaningful product to the end user. Sorry if that causes a problem for you but in most likeliness you are big on some technology that did the same exact thing.

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666712)

Lets not forget MS didn't invent it, they wrapped in a package and sold it. I don't think they could really have a hope stopping any API

Well, they didn't actively encrypt or obfuscate it. So, at least they decided to play nicely and let people develop for this.

What corporation would go after a completely home brown [sic] API package for a physical device?

Well, I know you're not new here ... but, really? I think Sony would sue people into oblivion for something like this at the drop of a hat. It seems to be increasingly the norm for some corporations to more or less say that it is illegal to use hardware they sold you in a way they don't approve of. Seems to be Cuecat did it several years ago.

And, corporate hand-wringing aside, I think it's really cool that people are using the Kinect to make things like this. From the sounds of it, this is opening up lots of interesting avenues for researchers to be able to build cool things.

I for one, welcome our new fully autonomous 3D navigating multicopters. :-P

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (0)

matt_gaia (228110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35667592)

Well, I know you're not new here ... but, really? I think Sony would sue people into oblivion for something like this at the drop of a hat.

O RLY? [cnet.com] I know that Sony-hating is popular here these days, but take the 30 seconds to do a little research, instead of spouting some BS that's going to be picked up and spread around endlessly by the freetards.

Now, if you go distributing stuff on the internet that compromises their, oh, I don't know, security, chances are Sony's going to be kind of pissed over it. Or to put it another way (so eloquently by Rothbart at Sarcastic Gamer [sarcasticgamer.com] ):
"Right... but if you walk up and call Mike Tyson a pussy and kick him in the nuts, who is exactly "responsible" for your ass getting kicked?"

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35667812)

O RLY? [cnet.com] I know that Sony-hating is popular here these days, but take the 30 seconds to do a little research, instead of spouting some BS that's going to be picked up and spread around endlessly by the freetards.

First off, I don't need to do research to give my opinion ... I really do think that they'd be quite likely to trot out the lawyers under most situations because, in my opinion, Sony is a bunch of litigious bastards.

Sony is giving you a program you put on your PS3 which acts as a server which allows all of the motion information to be forwarded to a PC. I'm betting if you hooked the Move directly up to a machine, and bypassed anything approved by Sony, their response would be entirely different.

I'm sorry, but at this point, Sony has exhausted any good-will that I and many others ever had for them. I simply do not trust them anymore, and, I just simply don't buy stuff from them. They've got far too long of a track record of being assholes. I'm not willing to assume that they might do it this time -- I'm going straight to the "Sony sucks balls" position, and acting accordingly.

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (1)

matt_gaia (228110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35668280)

Having your own opinion is fine and dandy.... You are not, however, entitled to your own set of facts... You can connect a PS3 controller (be it a DS3 or a Move) to your PC, and no one is going to particularly give a damn about it. Why? Because a) That's not going to affect the money they get from game licensing, which is where they get most of their revenue, and b) they've been fine with letting this happen for years.

The times that they are litigious bastards are when someone does something that's doing something that's going to affect their bottom line. Whether it's morally right or wrong is an entirely different argument, but when you do things, such as break trademark agreements (Lik Sang) or post the keys to the system security model to the world (GeoHot), Sony, as any other IP-holding company would, is going to sick their lawyers on you. Now I will give you what the music division did was a complete load of BS, but they've already lost that court (and public opinion) battle long ago.

If you don't want to buy from them again, then don't, but please, when you find this "morally virtuous" company that's not eventually going to pull some asshole stunt on their customers, let all of us on /. know.

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35667886)

who cares... just use a wii motion plus.

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35667928)

Move is nothing more than a wand and a webcam. There's nothing in it that's really too much different than a Wii (if anything, it's an evolution of the Wiimote's IR camera sensor).

People have been doing image recognition prior to this for ages now, and any depth mapping via cameras has involved dual cameras for stereoscopic vision.

Sony's Move really doesn't offer researchers too much to play with that they don't already have - recognizing a glowing colored ball in 3D space? We can already do it (and it's even commercialized - "augmented reality").

Kinect though, gets you a slightly shifted image plus a 3D depth map, cheaply. Something that's usually cost a lot more is available to everyone.

Sure it's not LIDAR accurate, or time-of-flight precision, and there's interference if you want to up the resolution with two units (it is structured light fields, after all), but it's cheap enough that researchers are able to use it for things that they're working on to see what happens.

Quadcopters navigating was confined to LIDAR imagery or special rooms with high-framerate cameras doing mocap.

And no, Microsoft didn't encrypt it because they couldn't - the Xbox360 has a fundamental USB 2.0 throughput limit - the Kinect can easiy do VGA depth mapping, but the bandwidth constraint of the USB 2.0 on the 360 means it has to be VGA+QVGA+Audio only. If Microsoft can boost the USB throughput of the 360 to its theoretical hardware max (40MB/sec on the 360), then there's a possibility a firmware upgrade would bring it to VGA+VGA.

Kinect is a bandwidth hungry device, and the Xbox360's USB ports aren't all that fast. It's probably why Microsoft had to do all sorts of contortions to use the more reliable USB2.0 port in the back.

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (1)

nomel (244635) | more than 3 years ago | (#35671790)

If it could easily do VGA (without heavy interpolation) then that would suggest it can detect depth with a point resolution at or even near the infrared sensor resolution. This can't be the case since there can only depth information in each projected point. Since there *must* be black space between the projected points to be able to detect a point (zero black would be a white image!), this means you could never be more than some fraction of the sensor resolution. Even if you're doing sub-pixel detection, you're still stuck with the Nyquist limit, meaning you're limited to somewhere around half the sensor resolution. Anything beyond that is extrapolation.

Now...maybe the infrared camera is very high resolution...but looking at the videos of the projected points taken with infrared cameras, the point count doesn't seem like 30,000 needed for VGA...more like 10,000 or so (which would be about right for vga sensor).

Here is a clear shot of the edge points....count and multiply :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvvQJxgykcU [youtube.com]

Tip of the hat to mindshare. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35673550)

Well Microsoft is suppose to be coming out with a more scientific version of the Kinect and developments like this only increase the market for it.

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (1)

ViridianSage (1315441) | more than 3 years ago | (#35680490)

I for one, welcome our new fully autonomous 3D navigating multicopters. :-P

But how fast can it make the calculations for the jump to light speed?

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666724)

Sony?

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35668398)

Well, actually they did invent the API. The hardware was from a purchased company, though it was originally intended for military uses so it was refined to be much cheaper.

I actually worked on Kinect in the secret days, and when that thing came through the door, it was virtually unusable. I'm not a huge MS apologist, but the amount of progress they made on thin in a short time was nothing short of staggering.

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35678502)

Lets not forget MS didn't invent it, they wrapped in a package and sold it. I don't think they could really have a hope stopping any API.

What corporation would go after a completely home brown API package for a physical device?

sony?

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35666594)

MS is pretty consistent in what they want. They have cool stuff. They just want you to pay for it and most importantly USE it. If giving the source code away for things would make them more money they would do it in a heartbeat. Many of their API's, software, hardware stacks are fairly 'open' in that they are easy to use and do quite a bit. They just do not let you see the 'secret sauce' which makes many angry.

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666686)

It seems we are not talking about the same Microsoft here. The company I know and don't trust will ony care about how much money it makes after they make sure nobody can use it to compete with them on any of their markets.

And yes, their API are only 'open' if you use Windows. I'm still surprised they didn't go into a court after the people that published the really open API. They are in fact doing something nice (in the 'non-bad' definition of 'nice') and unusual.

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35667178)

I can not think of any cases where they took someone into court for 'using their stuff in a strange way'. Try to steal from them and they drag you into court in a heartbeat. They usually are fairly up front about it 'use our documented API and we will support you, dont use it and we might change it in v2 so be ready for that'. They even usually bend over backwards to make things backwards compatible. Name one other company that does that? Not even many open source projects can claim that.

They just make it clear up front 'pay for our stuff, do with it what you will, just pay'.

Now however here is where the rubber meets the road and the other microsoft takes over. They have niched out a market. Will they allow anyone in to compete with that. Probably not, they will defend their turf by any means necessary (which is what you have problems with).

Just because they have ruthless business practices does not mean they do not have good stuff to use. Do not confuse generosity with competence. Also do not confuse a successful business with competence.

I personally think MS needs a re-invention of who they are to remain relevant. The layers and layers of bureaucracy are killing them more effectively then any lawsuit ever will.

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35677232)

"I can not think of any cases where they took someone into court for 'using their stuff in a strange way'."

The 'Thou shall not benchmark our products!' Microsoft? Yes, they've sued companies for releasing benchmarks of their products, for releasing interoperating kits that let their products talk with concurrent ones, and are known to put small business out of the market by threatening to sue for the weardest reasons.

They are doing something unusual with the Kinetic.

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35667154)

As much as it's unpopular with the freetards...

FTFY

Re:Tip of the hat to Microsoft (1)

Ramley (1168049) | more than 3 years ago | (#35668746)

I've always had a terrible distaste for Microsoft for too many reasons to list.

BUT, I have to say that I am impressed with Microsoft on their approach of this one. All around, I really look at this and think that this is the attitude they should have adopted a very, very long time ago, and they produced a very outstanding product.

I'm happy to give them a sincere 'pat on the back' on this and try to find ways to positively reinforce more of these wonderful devices.

No pun intended (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666482)

Giggling at puns again? C'mon, surely you've got past that stage in life?

Puns are droll. There's no need to apologise for them, unless they are truly poor. There's no need to point them out - it's like explaining a bad joke.

Re:No pun intended (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666612)

Puns are awesome. I hope I don't ever get to a stage of life where I am too pretentious to have a sense of humor.

You are correct in that you shouldn't point them out. Clever ones stay hidden so only people who are thinking about what they are reading can find them.

Re:No pun intended (1)

228e2 (934443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666800)

Maybe some of us simply arent past that stage, or even there.

And dont call me Shirley.

Re:No pun intended (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35667268)

The very best puns annoy the audience with how bad they are.

(Partially) misleading summary. (3, Informative)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666544)

According to TFV the "multicopter" uses onboard processing to find reference points between successive video frames, which it then uses to determine how fast and how far the drone moves.

However, the actual map generation and navigation is handled by a separate computer.

Re:(Partially) misleading summary. (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | more than 3 years ago | (#35667074)

Still, I can see the government using such a device to easily map out and explore hard to reach places - such as the inside of a breached reactor or spent fuel rod containment vessel. The ability to buzz around on it's own helps a lot, but the resulting point cloud generated seems even more valuable to me.

So why didn't Kinect and Wii come from MIT? (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666596)

Here's a question: All these university researchers are using Wii controllers and Kinect devices to do research. How come they didn't invent this stuff themselves? Is it because they couldn't think in mass-market terms so their solutions were overly complex and expensive?

Now here's another question: Why don't Nintendo and Microsoft make developers kits for their devices sans game console? Or even better, make the open source (I can dream)?

Re:So why didn't Kinect and Wii come from MIT? (2)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666656)

It's because the researchers couldn't build factories in China to pump out their equipment by the million. Mass production, economies of scale and all that.

If you hired a team of engineers to invent and build you a one-off car, how much do you think it would cost?

Re:So why didn't Kinect and Wii come from MIT? (2)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666826)

If you hired a team of engineers to invent and build you a one-off car, how much do you think it would cost?

Depends on the car. Also it depends on what that car could do that other cars couldn't, say something like "fly", and how cheaply it could be made and how the usage could be expanded to markets not quite the intended one. Prototyping is expensive, and I'm sure that Microsoft's prototypes of the Kenect were very expensive, but they had a plan to sell millions of the thing, making it less expensive for others to use and deploy in creative ways Microsoft probably never thought of.

The point being, good R&D builds products that exceed original scope for the design. What I call the unintended consequences of invention. You know, guy playing with Radar discovers it can cook food. Radar is expensive until Amana takes the idea and mass manufactures the "Radar Range".

Wait till Ford start putting these things in cars.

Re:So why didn't Kinect and Wii come from MIT? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666716)

It is not that they couldn't think in mass market terms. It is that they couldn't reach a mass market. And that does make their solution overly expensive, but not more complex.

Now, about your second question, I have no idea. I hope somebody will comercialise stand-alone versions of the chips that go into those devices. For the Wii it already happened, you don't need to use a WiiMote anymore, you can simply buy the chips.

Re:So why didn't Kinect and Wii come from MIT? (4, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666738)

Here's a question: All these university researchers are using Wii controllers and Kinect devices to do research. How come they didn't invent this stuff themselves?

They did, long ago. This sort of thing is usually developed as a demonstrated concept in an academic lab. Proof of concept devices are ungainly, expensive, and incomplete, but they show that the academics' idea works and has potential for further development. Then companies take that public domain knowledge and make products from it. These are much cheaper and better packaged. Now the products are part of our technology culture, so they're natural tools for the next round of academics to use as tools for further innovation.

Is it because they couldn't think in mass-market terms so their solutions were overly complex and expensive?

Now here's another question: Why don't Nintendo and Microsoft make developers kits for their devices sans game console? Or even better, make the open source (I can dream)?

Microsoft is releasing Kinect for PC with an SDK supposedly intended to enable this sort of development. They chose to leave the output from the existing Kinect interface unencrypted, too, resulting in the already large homebrew scene demonstrated in storied like this.

Re:So why didn't Kinect and Wii come from MIT? (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35670868)

Which makes sense when you make your money from selling the hardware. If I'm a hardware maker, I want everyone able to use my hardware so I sell more units. So I create the SDK and say "here ya go" and then provide support for it. I know that's why at my last company we ended up using certain hardware over others because the ones we chose had good SDK, good documentation, and finally good development support. For one label printer manufacture, that resulted in at least 13500 units of their label printer sold just because of us.

Re:So why didn't Kinect and Wii come from MIT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35674052)

You mean like sony did for the move. http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/sonys-playstation-move-controller-going-open-source-14-02-2011/ . so sad

Can't wait! (1)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666606)

I imagine we'll be seeing this used in autonomous vehicles pretty soon. Having four kinects on board with some basic processing could definitely replace some or all of the bulky LIDAR systems.

Re:Can't wait! (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666754)

I think a few kinetic driven vehicles can't work near each other. So, ok, they could be used in autonomous vehicles, but the applications are quite limited.

In a few years I expect vision systems based on natural light to be way cheaper than they are now, and by then somebody will probably make a low power chip.

Re:Can't wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35666766)

I guess much more advanced versions are already used in military systems, e.g. automated ship defenses which detect missiles and shells. This is first time that masses get their hands on such cool tech (and possibly dangerous one in wrong hands).

No, range and lighting conditions too limited (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35667600)

I imagine we'll be seeing this used in autonomous vehicles pretty soon. Having four kinects on board with some basic processing could definitely replace some or all of the bulky LIDAR systems.

Won't work. The Kinect's structured light approach only works when you can overpower ambient light with the Kinect's little infrared source. That's indoor or night only, and short range. LIDAR units work in bright sunlight because, for a few nanoseconds per cycle, they're brighter than the sun in their portion of the spectrum.

Short range LIDAR units aren't bulky. They're smaller than the Kinect. [mesa-imaging.ch] For more range, you need bigger collecting optics.

Multiple-camera systems can now do stereo reasonably well without a structured illumination source. The purpose of the Kinect's dot pattern is to put some texture on uniform surfaces, like floors and walls, so the stereo algorithm can lock in. It doesn't matter what you project, as long as it has lots of edges in it. Outdoors, you usually have enough texture for stereo lockup. The most notable exception is fresh snow, for which humans sometimes have "white-out", losing depth perception.

search 'news' oulets; disarmament = 198 stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35666672)

that's just for the last few weeks of course (more before that), and all are repeats of propagandic unclear disarmings (except for some irish 'magic' taking place?).. under represented we remain? for each of the innocents harmed in any way......

the chosen ones desires search = all the other stories combined.

what will they come up with next! (1)

cstacy (534252) | more than 3 years ago | (#35666674)

What did you say, MIT made a roflcopter?
Genius!

Georgia Tech/UPenn/Berkeley did this previously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35666696)

...yet it always seems that if MIT does it, it is somehow new and innovative regardless of previous art. Has anyone noticed this?

You can find the work done previously by just searching "kinect quadrotor" on google.

Haha, lol Kinect (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35667032)

Just don't move too fast or it will never see you.

The Kinect's update speed is ludicrously slow for a flying machine's collision avoidance system. A bird can potentially fly past the device between frames, and at high speeds there's no way it could keep up object avoidance.

Good luck, but you'll probably have to build your own.

Better than the Google van! (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 3 years ago | (#35667314)

Maybe Google can replace the Google van with Google drones that use this technology. Can you imagine seeing a dozen of these flying through your neighborhood?

Re:Better than the Google van! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35667546)

Maybe Google can replace the Google van with Google drones that use this technology. Can you imagine seeing a dozen of these flying through your neighborhood?

Hmmm, helice shooting [wikipedia.org] .

no pun intended (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35667646)

Lets just stop saying "no pun intended", it stupid.

BIM (1)

Gripp (1969738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35668106)

mix this with BIM software and you have a winner. can i be named on the patent for having came up with the idea!! =D

Can I get this for my Roomba.... (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | more than 3 years ago | (#35668116)

so it doesn't clean the same corner ten times while ignoring the rest of the room?

Re:Can I get this for my Roomba.... (1)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 3 years ago | (#35672724)

You can get something better: neato [google.com] . It uses LIDAR.

pity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35669564)

all the kids who want to grow up and be airplane pilots!

Laziness application (1)

WonderingAround (2007742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35669912)

Sure there's military application but this could provide the home butler you always wanted.

Thanks to MS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35669920)

Thansk to MS for making this available. I know most of you dont like the statement. But in this case that is the reality.

Nearly complete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35675838)

All that remains is to add a robot arm to the copter that can (a) open/close the fridge and (b) pick up a beer.

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