October 16, 2011 AT 12:01 am

FIRST Adds Kinect Technology

FIRST has  announced that the Kinect and Windows SDK will be included in the standard “Kit of Parts” for the 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).

FRC is a unique “Varsity Sport for the Mind,” which is designed to help young people discover the interesting and rewarding aspects of engineering and research, while challenging teams and their mentors to solve problems in a six-week timeframe by using a standard Kit of Parts and a common set of rules. The 2012 kit will include Kinect technology, enabling competitors to not just control the robot, but to “be the robot.”

By combining the Kinect technology with robotics, competitors will be able to control their robots by using a natural user interface—with potentially no joystick, game controller, or other input device required. Teams will have the option of programming their robots to respond to custom gestures that their human teammates create, or by using default code and gestures. Kinect will be beta tested by using robots built by FIRST students in the coming weeks in preparation for the 2012 competition

The article says that an estimated 60,000 competitors will have access to Kinect technology in the 2012 competition.

via Microsoft Research Connections


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5 Comments

  1. The post says “Kinect Technology”, not a MS Kinect. Will this be the standard device or will they be coming up with an embedded version? It does say for the UI side, so its probably supposed to connect to the controller laptop and aim at the driver. I wonder how well it will work in the rather chaotic environment of FIRST competitions.
    Either way, we will have fun with ours during/after the build. The kids loved using The ColorBox (http://colorbox.me) at our recent robotics club fundraiser http://www.flickr.com/photos/mauimakers/sets/72157627720313121/

  2. Teams will get the standard Kinect device. Its focus is being used on the driver side, pointing at the driver and giving the control system information. It will be connected to the “driver station,” which in FIRST is a laptop/netbook computer running some control software all teams use. As of now FIRST is not planning to limit use to only the drivers; teams can use it on their robot as a sensor. The use of the Kinect is completely optional – if teams don’t have time, think it will be too complicated, or don’t have a good use for it they might not work with it.

    This might be quite hectic since highschoolers are working with it on a very short timeline (6 short weeks, by design), but it will still be a great learning experience and a lot of fun. I would expect teams to be controlling simple, specific actions with the Kinect, probably at a specific time or for some limited purpose. They probably won’t drive their whole robot this way, since we get joysticks that are much more direct, easy, and responsive, which is key in the very intense, 2min 15sec match.

  3. Teams will get the standard Kinect device. Its focus is being used on the driver side, pointing at the driver and giving the control system information. It will be connected to the "driver station," which in FIRST is a laptop/netbook computer running some control software all teams use. As of now FIRST is not planning to limit use to only the drivers; teams can use it on their robot as a sensor. The use of the Kinect is completely optional – if teams don’t have time, think it will be too complicated, or don’t have a good use for it they might not work with it.

    This might be quite hectic since highschoolers are working with it on a very short timeline (6 short weeks, by design), but it will still be a great learning experience and a lot of fun. I would expect teams to be controlling simple, specific actions with the Kinect, probably at a specific time or for some limited purpose. They probably won’t drive their whole robot this way, since we get joysticks that are much more direct, easy, and responsive, which is key in the very intense, 2min 15sec match.

  4. Stewart Tansley has informed me that the the devices on order for FIRST will be the current retail units.
    :)

  5. Do the rules of FIRST allow autonomous robots? That is, could an entry use the Kinect in sensor-mode only?

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