The Kinect isn’t just used for video games. It has been used in medical science as a scanner, space science as a way to weigh astronauts in zero g, and it was even given an award by Popular Science. It’s an incredible piece of technology that has applications far beyond the video gaming world, and now NASA is using it with another piece of video game technology to allow users to control robots remotely.
Their setup utilizes both a Kinect and an Oculus Rift. The Kinect tracks the user’s position in space, and the Rift tracks the user’s head. When the user moves their head, a camera on a robot moves in order to give them a first person view of the robot’s surroundings. Similarly, when they move their arm, a robot arm moves along with their motions. The motion tracking is accurate enough to allow them to actually pick up objects with the robot arm and manipulate them.
NASA believes that this new technology will be useful in the future of space exploration. The control system is likely to be integrated into Robotnaut 2 humanoid robot on the International Space Station, allowing people to perform work on the ISS without ever leaving earth.
Be sure to check out this video of the technology in action.
Senior Contributing Writer