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Kinect-Controlled Android Legs Puts Us Another Step Closer to Avatar

Kinect android

We were excited back in December when someone hacked a Microsoft Kinect controller to power a tiny human-shaped android’s arms. Now the tech’s been advanced, and motion control has come to a robot’s legs too. Avatar and Evangelion never seemed less like science fiction.

This time the enterprising hacker is Watani Yohizaki of Asura Engineering, who developed the entire control system largely from scratch (not using the previous effort), though his code relies on Asura’s V-Sido software. Astura’s been working on this for a while as a way to more simply control humanoid ‘bots in real-time thanks to a click-and-drag system that uses 3-D graphical models of the robot.

Check out the HPI GR-001 ‘bot in action in the clip–he’s a standard edition machine, no modding required:

The true power of this implementation is that Asura’s code lets the robot automatically adjust to compensate for motions that would otherwise cause the machine to tip over–a system that calculates the center of gravity in real time. This is a big step up from Taylor Veltrop’s earlier work which, if you remember, could upend the robot through over-vigorous arm movements alone. In the newer implementation the robot’s control software is smarter…so now you can control the robot’s legs too.

And there’s one added bonus here–the power to add camera’s to the GR-001’s head, so you could slip on some VR goggles, hop in front of your hacked MS Kinect sensor system, and see the world through the eyes of the little ‘bot that you’re making dance.

Yup…it’s sci-fi made real, for a fistful of dollars rather than billions.

To read more news on this, and similar stuff, keep up with my updates by following me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.KE