GeckoSystems Intl. Corp. announced that their recent invention of the GeckoImager has incorporated Microsoft's Kinect sensor.
"Even though we are in very delicate and sensitive discussions with various Microsoft representatives, nonetheless due to the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates' article, 'A Robot in Every Home', gives us basis for belief that their interest is not cursory and simply polite. Microsoft has invested many man-years creating their mobile robot software development environment, entitled Microsoft® Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R3. Microsoft RDS is a Windows®-based environment for academic, hobbyist, and commercial developers to easily create robotics applications across a wide variety of hardware. To date, no publications reveal any viable automatic self-navigation AI software having been developed in their RDS environment," stated Martin Spencer, President/CEO, GeckoSystems.
GeckoSystems' recently announced GeckoImager uses sensor fusion interpolates structured light machine vision data from the Kinect sensor with sonar range finding data , complimented by GeckoOrient's™ solid-state compass, accelerometer, and odometry sensor fusion. This provides their automatic, self-navigation AI software, GeckoNav™, with sufficient and timely data to achieve actionable situation awareness resulting in a very safe, loose crowd level of mobile robot autonomy that is "collision proof."
"The amount of data that the new GeckoImager -- using Microsoft's Kinect sensor -- provides is far greater then what can reasonably be collected with fixed sensors and at a much lower cost than scanning laser range finding systems that are frequently used. Our new GeckoImager sensor fusion system not only provides timely and actionable situation awareness information sufficient for our AI navigation software, GeckoNav, but also satisfies those requirements at a much lower cost, in both dollars and power," stated Kevin O'Connor, Sr. EE Roboticist, Research and Development, GeckoSystems.
Microsoft recently announced that over 8 million Kinect sensors were sold within 60 days of its launch in November 2010, making 2010 the biggest year in Xbox history. Microsoft sold around 1.9 million Xbox 360 consoles in December 2010 alone, according to NPD, a market research company.
Machine vision is a combination of structured lighting, a detector, and a computer to precisely gather and analyze data. Scanning the object with the light constructs 3-D information about the shape of the object. This is the basic principle behind depth perception for machines, or 3D machine vision. Structured light is the projection of a light pattern (plane, grid, or more complex shape) at a known angle onto an object. Laser light is the best choice when precision and reliability are important. This technique can be very useful for imaging and acquiring dimensional information. When a sheet-of-light intersects with an object, a bright line of light can be seen on the surface of the object. By viewing this line of light from an angle, the observed distortions in the line can be translated into height and/or distance variations.
This fundamental technological approach has many applications in mobile service robots. Heretofore, cost, size and complexity of set up has been prohibitive. Microsoft's recent contribution to the advancement of low cost, truly utilitarian personal robots advances their founder's timeline notably and takes their new product far beyond only the living room.
The high cost of labor in developed countries and the increasing need for assisted living has led to the development of the service robotics market. As service robots are in greater proximity to humans, the technology involves more safety concerns over human-machine interaction. However, developments in the manufacture of intelligent and safer robots by GeckoSystems address the issues of safety, manipulation, and sensing. Thus, GeckoSystems is well prepared for the day when every home will have a robot.
"This breakthrough usage of Microsoft's low cost Kinect range finding sensor system may enable some near term business-to-business niche retrofit markets for us. We continue to expect technology-licensing revenues to precede revenues from product manufacturing and sales and have two to three prospective licensees in active discussions. This augurs well for increased ROI and shareholder value for our nearly 1400 investors," concluded Spencer.