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Natural Interaction With Flying Robots Via Kinect 28

garymortimer writes "Researchers at The Flying Machine Arena in the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control ETH Zurich control a multicopter drone with gesture based commands. The designers say they are 'looking for ways to make interaction with our vehicles natural and intuitive.'"
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Natural Interaction With Flying Robots Via Kinect

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  • Then the next addon will be a Kinect controlled gun to shoot birds down.

  • and then call them HK's, it'd be very cool.
  • Surely all you need to program in is a pointing gesture accompanied with a yell of "Attack, my swarming robot minions! AHAHAHAHA!"
  • There is nothing natural about interacting with flying robots...

  • by lexsird ( 1208192 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @08:01PM (#36644222)

    What impressed me the most was the helicopter they were using. Put a camera on that with a feed. Add other things as well.

    See, I could see squad cars in the future sporting these kinds of drones. You stop, get out, and the drone launches and gives you a birds-eye view and assistance. Give it verbal and hand signals. Military applications for this are endless, as are intelligence operations. What a fun time we live in!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...and boy, are my arms tired!

    • Mod +1 insightful. I know it was intended to be funny, but that's exactly the problem with these types of interfaces. I can see it now:

      "To hover, hold your hand out flat without moving". Half an hour into a surveillance operation, the copter crashes onto the top of the suspect's head when some cop's arm gets tired.

      What's the matter with standard PS2 or XBOX game controller? Intuitive, cheap, and the UI bugs have been worked out years ago.
      • It could be useful in conjunction with a more traditional controller. Maybe someone could use an Xbox type controller to navigate the device to a particular area, swapping to body tracking for brief periods to negotiate tricky geometry. Once the tracking becomes advanced enough it might be worth doing.
  • Sure it works within 20 feet in a very controlled environment; so what?

    Most UAVs are much more usefull out of sight of the "pilot" and need much finer control than gestures can provide. Another issue is the space required to use gestures to control the UAV. Yeah, someone is going to set up a connects, stand 5 feet away and dance to control a UAV. That's not obvious. Great for game not so great for real life.

    Cool but useless

    • by jfengel ( 409917 )

      The distance limit is more about what you can demo in a lab. I see no reason why the concept couldn't be expanded to a battlefield.

      If the net result is a better way to interact with the machine, you may be able to get more bang for your buck: better reaction time, more precise movements, application of kinaesthetic senses currently going unused. That ain't necessarily the case, but you won't know until you give it a try. It's a user-interface question; they're nothing necessarily optimal about the button-a

      • Battlefield situation.
        How do you point at UAV that is behind a building or hill?
        How do you point at a UAV without exposing yourself to enemy fire be it direct or indirect?
        How do you get the required area for kintect to work when you are hunkered down in a building, hiding behind a wall or driving in an armoured vehicle?
        How do you get the power requirements for Kinect?
        How do you see something that small to point at it a quarter of a mile away?
        How does the system know you are giving it a real command and not

    • Cool but useless

      And yet I'm sure someone got a research grant for this thing.

  • With continuing unpopularity at the loss of life in wars with dubious motives, America invested more and more in automated units. From unmanned drones to remotely controlled tanks, to finally autonomous infantry robots. At first, this seemed to be a sound strategy when dealing with areas totally hostile to the US, but there was a problem. America had moved the biggest threat to their security from extremist terrorists, to bored teenagers in their bedrooms.

    Early warning signs were ignored. The military h

  • Natural Interaction With Flying Robots Via Kinect

    Am I the only one seeing everything that's wrong with this statement?

  • make interaction with our vehicles natural and intuitive

    Shoo! Shoo!

  • ahh... AHHH.... atchOOO!

  • As soon as I read the summary, I immediately pictured guys in rooms with their arms outstretched, running around in circles going,"NEEEEEEEERRRRR" and making other plane flying/shooting/bombing sounds. :)

  • The kinect will only be useful when coupled with VR, to project an entire cockpit to a user sitting in a plain chair, allowing them to fly ANYTHING from ANYWHERE with just a change to the software profile. Until then all this flapping about is inefficient.

    The Kinect has to be able to tell the difference between 2 'buttons' pressed one inch apart.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."