Kinect 2 with Oculus Rift gets NASA robotic arm workout

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Posted December 31, 2013
Kinect 2 with Oculus Rift gets NASA robotic arm workout
NASA engineers like what they see in Microsoft Kinect 2 as they continue to work on space robots. A NASA video released earlier this month shows how it is leveraging a combination of Kinect 2 along with Oculus Rift, the virtual reality head-mounted display, for results that have engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory highly impressed. Looking for optimal ways to maneuver robots in space, team members at JPL talked to Engadget recently about what they discovered in pairing the technologies to control a robotic arm.

Above all they found that using both the Oculus Rift and Kinect brought them more immersive control, (They were among the developers to receive the first preview versions of Kinect 2. They worked with the latter’s motion sensor technology, and proceeded to add Oculus Rift’s immersive virtual reality, with the goal of manipulating the robotic arm.)

Alex Menzies, a Human Interfaces engineer, described his observations in working with the head-mounted display and Kinect motion sensor. According to Engadget, he said they were able for the first time with consumer-grade sensor to control a robotic limb’s entire orientation. Menzies also welcomed the fact that all the visual input was properly mapped to where limbs are in the real world. “It feels very natural and immersive.” The Kinect 2 brings more precision and accuracy. Human Interfaces Engineer Victor Luo said it was allowing them to track open and closed states, and rotation of the wrist. “With all of these new tracking points and rotational degrees of freedom, we were able to better manipulate the arm.”


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