Kinect 2 with Oculus Rift gets NASA robotic arm workout

Dec 30, 2013 by Nancy Owano weblog

(Phys.org) —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 , with the goal of manipulating the .)

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."

The NASA video notes explain that "Using the new Xbox One Kinect sensor they could manipulate a JACO robot arm in realtime. Also, position tracking from Kinect and rotational tracking with Oculus provided a first-person view for the operator."

The JACO arm, with its three fingers and six degrees of freedom, is from the Canadian personal robotics solutions company, Kinova, known for its platforms for rehabilitation and research. The JACO research edition robotic arm is promoted by the company as a product in the"new generation of lightweight portable robotic manipulator."

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Next on the JPL agenda will be extending their work to controlling robots such as Robonaut 2; the latter arrived at the International Space Station in 2011 and has performed varied tasks to show how it can function in microgravity. (The ISS is defined as a test bed for technologies that will be vital to human exploration, as NASA explores asteroids and Mars.) The goal is to free up the crew for more critical work, including research. "Our investment in robotic technology development is helping us to bolster productivity by applying robotics technology and devices to fortify and enhance individual human capabilities, performance and safety in space," said Michael Gazarik, NASA's associate administrator for space technology.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.


Explore further: BMW to reveal driverless innovations that allow for 360- degree collision avoidance and valet parking

More information: kinovarobotics.com/products/jaco-research-edition/
www.engadget.com/2013/12/23/na… obotic-arm-kinect-2/
www.hi.jpl.nasa.gov/

Related Stories

Microsoft hand research ripens Kinect for work (w/ video)

Mar 07, 2013

(Phys.org) —Beyond reading body motions, Kinect is getting a workup by researchers at Microsoft, now showing substantial control additions. Microsoft Research this week showed how Microsoft Kinect for Windows ...

A smart walker that guides its users

Dec 02, 2013

As part of the EU-funded DALi project, Siemens' global research unit Corporate Technology is developing a high-tech walker that can safely guide people with cognitive impairments through public buildings. ...

Microsoft to add Kinect Fusion to Kinect for Windows SDK

Nov 06, 2012

(Phys.org)—Senior Program Manager for Microsoft's Kinect for Windows, Chris White recently announced via a blog post that Kinect Fusion will soon be incorporated into the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit (SDK). Th ...

Image: Space station deploys Cubesats

Nov 25, 2013

Three nanosatellites, known as Cubesats, are deployed from a Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (SSOD) attached to the Kibo laboratory's robotic arm at 7:10 a.m. (EST) on Nov. 19, 2013.

Virtual-reality goggles go beyond gaming

Oct 30, 2013

The $300 goggles that Irvine, Calif.-based Oculus VR began shipping to software developers in March deliver a glimpse of a futuristic technology that's been long awaited by video gamers. They allow a player ...

Recommended for you

Cheaper, more powerful VR system for engineers

Dec 17, 2014

It's like a scene from a gamer's wildest dreams: 12 high-definition, 55-inch 3D televisions all connected to a computer capable of supporting high-end, graphics-intensive gaming.

Nokia HERE prepares maps for autonomous cars

Dec 17, 2014

Autonomous cars will need a new kind of map, a crucial element that until now has been given a back seat to the more popularly discussed issues of sensors and legal questions. Senior Writer Greg Miller in ...

Dutch launch 'intelligent bicycle' that warns of danger

Dec 15, 2014

The Netherlands on Monday launched its first-ever "intelligent bicycle", fitted with an array of electronic devices to help bring down the high accident rate among elderly cyclists in the bicycle-mad country.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.