Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Having fun with Kinect and machine vision

In the course of researching our Vision for Service Robots market report, it became obvious that low-end vision systems would be a great boon to robot developers of all sorts. And indeed, researchers are taking advantage of low-cost consumer sensors to design increasingly capable and inexpensive robots.

The Microsoft Kinect, designed for the Xbox 360 game system, has set new records for consumer sales and is generating considerable excitement among robot hobbyist and researchers. The Kinect sells for about $150 and its embedded time-of-flight camera and infrared sensors can be used as a vision system for some service robots. For some interesting applications of Kinect in service robots, IEEE Spectrum has a good blog: Top 10 Robotic Kinect Hacks.

But hobbyists and service robot makers aren’t the only one taking advantage of Kinect. MVTec Software has just tested Kinect in 3-D applications for industrial tasks such as bin picking, packaging, and palletizing, as well as for research and development.

And Eye Vision Technology has used the Kinect sensor with its EyeScan 3D system for robotic applications such as depalletization and sorting components on the assembly line.

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