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Hacked iRobot Uses XBox Kinect To See World 124

kkleiner writes "A student at MIT's Personal Robotics Group is going to put Microsoft's Kinect to a good use: controlling robots. Philipp Robbel has hacked together the Kinect 3D sensor with an iRobot Create platform and assembled a battery-powered bot that can see its environment and obey your gestured commands. Tentatively named KinectBot, Robbel's creation can generate some beautifully detailed 3D maps of its surroundings and wirelessly send them to a host computer. KinectBot can also detect nearby humans and track their movements to understand where they want it to go." In related but less agreeable news, "Dennis Durkin, who is both COO and CFO for Microsoft's Xbox group, told investors this week that Kinect can also be used by advertisers to see how many people are in a room when an ad is on screen, and to custom-tailor content based on the people it recognizes."
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Hacked iRobot Uses XBox Kinect To See World

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  • Google (Score:5, Interesting)

    by supertrinko ( 1396985 ) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:02AM (#34265612)
    Google BotView. Little robots roaming the world making 3d models of everything.
  • Less ad money? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:24AM (#34265696) Journal

    Kinect can also be used by advertisers to see how many people are in a room when an ad is on screen,

    That could be bad for those who are getting TV ad money.

    When advertisers can actually measure the number of people walking out and ignoring the ads, they often start paying less for ads :).

  • The first thing I thought about was cheap motion capture / do-it-yourself BVH file generation; I'm a semi-pro animator & cgi guy, and this is sort of a holy grail for the basement computer graphics community.

    I'm pretty sure all a person would need is 2 or more Kinects and some relatively simple code to make something that could compete with systems that cost around $5000. I waste a LOT of money on various software packages, but 5k is pretty much out of the question; an additional Xbox 360 and 2 Kinects, though... There would be a LOT more amateur and low dollar animations made.

    But, after that, yeah, the level of monitoring people would be potentially opening themselves to is pretty amazing, also.

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:54AM (#34266416) Journal
    Just like everyone cleans out their cookies, flash cookies and browser database?
    Think of the fun the feds/state task force could have with a new MS [] for the Kinect.
    Once you are on their list for a warrantless networking sneak and peek, your junk is moving up the tubes.
    The audio, visual and depth to plots or unatural acts on your sofa.
  • Re:Google (Score:3, Interesting)

    by datapharmer ( 1099455 ) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @07:14AM (#34266464) Homepage
    I actually had that exact same idea, but for open street maps. Why not put these things on cars, bikes, etc. to render open source 3d maps?
  • Re:ROS drivers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @07:44AM (#34266566)

    While the work the MIT student did is noteworthy, it's really quite trivial thanks to ROS. I do robotics research using ROS, and SLAM, navigation, planning, etc. are all handled by ROS automatically as long as you provide the appropriate data streams. It's really as simple as plugging in a device. Even the gesture recognition is handled by the kinect driver and issuing commands from gestures is trivial at that point.

    I think the real recognition should be given to the group at CCNY [] (no I don't got school there) who did the work of getting the kinect driver working in ROS in the first place, and aren't even mentioned in this article.

  • Meta ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 6Yankee ( 597075 ) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @08:05AM (#34266614)

    OK, so what happens if I point the Kinect at the TV when the ads are on? Will it select ads appropriate for the people in the ads? I'm not sure whether the results would be hilarious or depressing.

  • by anglico ( 1232406 ) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:41PM (#34269438)
    Didn't Comcast do this last year when the story broke that they were putting cameras into the cable set top boxes? I guess if you add in a videogame interface it becomes more palatable to the masses?
    Link []
  • Re:How nice... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @04:55PM (#34273520)

    Bingo! This applies to so many other companies out there as well. Google/Facebook? You may be a user, but you are not a customer. The advertisers are the customers, you are a product. Sometimes, it's worth it. Sometimes it ain't.

    Unless you're paying for Google docs or enterprise stuff. Then you're a customer. I think the fact that they have both customer/users and product/users is one of the important things keeping them (somewhat more) honest. If they screwed the product/users like Facebook does, all those enterprise customer/users would suddenly have no way to trust them, and would probably go looking elsewhere...FAST.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.