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ROS 3D Kinect Contest Winners

The results of Willow Garage's Robot Operating System and Kinect contest

1 min read
ROS 3D Kinect Contest Winners

willow garage ros kinect

This is maybe only peripherally (ha!) related to robotics, but it’s cool enough that I thought it was worth sharing… Besides, it’s Friday, and you deserve some nifty videos to watch. Anyway, we’ve posted before on all the cool things that roboticists have been able to do with Microsoft’s stupidly cheap and effective 3D camera system, and Willow Garage took some initiative and sponsored a contest to try and kick start even more open source Kinect innovation.

First place (and $3k) went to Garratt Gallagher’s "Customizable Buttons." Using a piece of paper and a pen, you can just draw your own touch-sensitive controls:

The second and third places went to robots we’ve covered before, namely UC Berkeley’s quadrotors and Taylor Veltrop’s teleoperation, while a real-time color 3D mapping tool from the University of Freiburg took home the most useful award.

Taking home no awards, but one of my personal favorite demos, was Kinemmings, a game of Lemmings played using your body and the Kinect sensor. Yes, it may not be advancing the field of robots or whatever, but it sure looks like fun:

Microsoft should absolutely pay those guys a bajillion dollars and hire them as game designers or something. Seriously, Kinect has way more potential than one company can possibly harness. And as for robots, great strides are obviously being made, and the future is (hopefully) limitless. If any of these projects are of use to you personally, remember that since they’re on ROS, you can just download them and put them to work yourself.

[ ROS 3D Contest ]

The Conversation (0)

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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