A robotic research team from the ETH Zurich have developed a nimble and fast robot drone, which can be manipulated through hand gestures made by standing in front of the Xbox 360 body scanning camera and a camera placed overhead.
The operator just has to stand in front of the Xbox and lift his arm to cause the drone to take off and fly around. The drone dives or darts depending on the gestures made by the person controlling the robot. When the operator drops his arm, the quadrocopter continues to float in the latest safe position. The student has to just clap to make it land, the sound is detected by the Kinect’s microphone and the drone simply drops to the floor. By designing the robot drone the students have brought together the quadrocopter and the Kinect.
The robot drone is also capable of doing a flip, which can be achieved by raising the left arm quickly. The overhead camera and the Kinect work together to mark out a no-fly region surrounding the pilot so that the drone does not collide with him.
Interaction with a Quadrotor via the Kinect, ETH Zurich
The research team has been working with quadrocopters for some years. The demonstration using Kinect presents the use of natural motions to control a robot. The team has also made robots dance to music in sync with one another in a choreographed manner.They have even made robots juggle a ball independently.