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Here Are The (Rumored) Specs for the Next Generation Kinect Sensor

Kinect changed the game for robotics, will the Kinect 2 change it again?

2 min read
Here Are The (Rumored) Specs for the Next Generation Kinect Sensor

PrimeSense may be busy making its next-gen sensor smaller and not more powerful, but Microsoft isn't looking to stuff Kinect into mobile devices. The next generation Kinect is going to be an integral part of Microsoft's next gaming console, (widely expected to be released at E3 in June), and there's a rumor that it will come with some beefed-up specs, which we've got for you in a nice handy table. Will it make your robot better, smarter, and faster? Well, maybe.

We should reiterate that these specifications are rumored. A leak website got them from I know not where, but people with more experience than I have deemed them apparently legitimate. Here's the rundown on the new sensor (currently known as "Durango"), from VGLeaks:

The biggest disappointment here for robotics is likely the unchanged depth resolution. With a minimum resolvable depth of just 0.4 meter, robots that are too small to use Kinect to help them execute grasping tasks with arms and grippers close to their sensors aren't going to get much help from the Kinect 2.

However, we're definitely liking the increased resolution of the depth data, which should enable resolving smaller objects and features from longer distances, better separation of objects occluding one another, and better curve and edge recognition. According to the rumors we're basing all of this on, "at 3.5 m it can resolve objects two to three times smaller than the current sensor." Also, the USB 3.0 interface should make it possible for users to access all of these data, which was an issue with USB 2.0. 

There are also rumors of improved skeletal tracking, which can track six people (up from two), can identify occluded joints, identify some joint rotations, and pick out thumbs and fingers well enough to be able to tell an open hand from a closed one.

Again, these are rumors, but they seem pretty legit. We'll be on the ground at E3 in June to get you all the details as the announcement happens.

[ TNW ] via [ VGLeaks ]

Thanks Travis!

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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