Young indie dev connects with the Kinect (and robots!)


Today's project shows that anyone, anywhere, can get started with the Kinect and so some pretty cool stuff!

Young indie developer Kinects your life

A four-wheeled robot revs up and travels across the room as twenty two-year-old Samarth Shah verbally commands it to move forward. The robot is connected to a computer and the Microsoft Kinect, an accessory of the XBox 360 video game console. Shah belongs to a sprawling breed of young indie developers who put to use the Kinect’s abilities to recognize speech, gestures, and motion in applications beyond the Kinect’s intended purpose of gaming.

The robot, which Shah built along with two friends Devanshee Shah and Yagnik Suchak, recognizes voice commands and gestures and performs simple actions. Raise the right hand and it goes forward. A swipe of the hand sends it to the right. It stops when the left hand is raised and moves to the left when the left hand is swiped. The gesture recognition program, coded in Visual Basic using the Microsoft software development kit (SDK), carries out what Shah describes as “skeleton tracking”. It follows the positions of 20 joints of the body to detect a valid gesture. The three cameras on the Kinect together determine the angle, position, and orientation of the joints. The trio has decided to scale up the design of the robot to numerous applications such as operating a wheelchair with voice commands. Shah is also working on a Kinect application to surf the web using a browser that recognizes movement.


Owing to his personal interest in image processing, Shah delved deeper and started to explore the use of the Kinect for image processing tasks in Linux and Windows environments. Using the Kinect as a camera and OpenCV, a programming library for computer vision, RGB data and depth data can be retrieved from images. After applying a few processes, the data can be used to perform face detection in almost real time. He says it is possible to run other complex algorithms on the Kinect by modifying his program further.

While attempting to understand how the Kinect works, Shah also created a few simple applications that could be of practical use or would give ideas to other enthusiasts to build more advanced applications upon them. One of his initial projects, which can be interesting for the geeks in the corporate world, is a program for gesture and speech controlled presentations....

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