Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Linking a robot body to a human one with Kinect

I know it's a little nerdiness-heavy and lacking slickness of presentation, but hey, this is the real world, and these early developments towards a world where human and machine live as a brotherhood are just too interesting to not write about at least occasionally.

Enter Taylor Veltrop, who has linked his Kinect to a humanoid robot so he can operate it directly through his own body movements. As he indicates himself, it's nothing but a first rough version towards fluent robot motion control - algorithms such as IK would have to be implemented to give the robot an own mind-connection to its body so that it can make an intelligent conversion of the movements it perceives, instead of blindly following what it sees directly - but it's pretty good already.

The moment when the creator has his robot do push-ups, commenting himself with "Let's do some push-ups", it really seems as if he has created a little version of himself that can now do things through simple control so that the creator does not have to do them anymore within the limits of his own embodiment in the physical world. Whereas this does open up great possibilities, and I do think that in making technology more active we are stimulated in becoming so as well, we on the other hand are reminded again of a future scenario where we have forgotten about the mental and physical development of our own bodies and become the jolly onlookers to a seemingly active world - akin to the media consumers depicted in Pixar's Wall-E. So let's all stay aware.

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