The KinectBot might be the most obviously practical creation to come out of Kinect hacking, even if it's mostly a proof of concept. Created by essentially strapping a hacked Kinect to an iRobot Create (a sort of blank Roomba platform used by robotics developers) along with a gutted Intel Atom computer, the KinectBot uses the Kinect bar's 3D sensors in ways that'd make an ordinary Roomba hopelessly jealous.
Philipp Robbel over at MIT's Personal Robotics Group is behind the KinectBot, a concept with possibilities far beyond sweeping up Cheetos crumbs. The KinectBot creates impressively detailed 3D maps of its environment, and beams this data wirelessly to a computer. Thanks to the Kinect's myriad sensors, KinectBot can detect humans and respond to commands. So not only can it effectively recognize obstacles like furniture and properly maneuver around them, it can understand what you want it to do.
The video above shows that Robbel really gets what the Kinect is about: Using its combination of modern hardware and hyper-advanced software to do incredibly simple, intuitive things. The KinectBot recognizes and responds when you do something as simple as pointing at a corner of the room. This has implications for advanced engineering and military applications, but we'd be satisfied with a consumer model of the KinectBot, really.single page
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.