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Robotics, Kinect, ROS


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CSAIL Researcher Creates Customizable Buttons

If you need a little dose of magic in your life look no further than a new interface developed by Garratt Gallagher. Using a Microsoft Kinect video game system in conjunction with ROS (open-source Robot Operating Software developed by Willow Garage), Gallagher, a Systems Robotics Engineer at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, has created Customizable Buttons.

The program works like this: Draw an enclosed shape, such as a circle on a piece of paper. Then touch the center of your shape, pushing in as you would the on button for your car radio. Once you hit the "button," you will be regaled with a sound, anything from a car horn to a duck quack, just like when you press the key on a piano.

To create this fun software, Gallagher used the Kinect and ROS interfaces to detect his hand and the shape on the table, thus enabling him to set up an action-reaction type response. For his creation, Gallagher was awarded top prize in the ROS 3D contest and $3,000.

Gallagher submitted six Kinect and ROS-based demonstrations to the competition, which demonstrate the ability to use the technology to do everything from Minority Report like interfaces to hand and finger detection.

Gallagher is a member of both Russ Tedrake's Robot Locomotion Group and the Learning and Intelligent Systems Group, which is led by Leslie Pack Kaelbling and Tomas Lozano-Perez. His current research focuses largely on using the Kinect, as he feels the system's superior capabilities and low price will make robotics a more accessible field. Currently, Gallagher is building a low-cost, introductory platform for robotics called the Bilibot. The platform will operate through the use of ROS on a cheap laptop, which will be attached to a Roomba/Create with a Kinect on top.

Garratt Gallagher, MIT CSAIL

Agencies/Institutions (that have supported the research):
MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory


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