Browsing articles from "October, 2011"

FIRST Adds Kinect for Xbox 360 Technology for 2012 Competition

Oct 12, 2011   //   by Pamela Greyer   //   Latest Buzz, Robotics  //  No Comments

Dean Kamen has done it again. Kamen, inventor and founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) continues to provide excitement and innovation to the FIRST Robotics Competition by putting real world technologies in the hands of high school students with the addition of Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360 technology that will ship with the standard Kit of Parts for the 2012 FRC season.

Kinect for Xbox 360 technology will allow the competitors to “be the robot” which gives the drivers and the human players competing on the field a new level of technological insight through the use of a natural user interface. “This has got me excited!” said E. Bell, senior and lead student programmer of FIRST Team 2462, the Digibots.

Teams on the field will interact with their robots using gestures detected by a high level Kinect sensor that will give students more control over their field strategy. The joystick can become a tool of the past which will be an innovation in itself. I’m excited because programming is an invaluable skill that once learned will allow my students to always be hirable or employable. While gaming companies have used natural user interfaces for some time, more corporate, institutional, and government entities are realizing the benefits of NIU’s and incorporating them in software applications, new products, and learning environments.

FIRST has been in my life since 2002 when I was asked to join FIRST Team 1064 as the Visual Coordinator. I remember telling the coach that I would be delighted to take pictures and capture video footage of the team in competition as well as behind the scenes but I wouldn’t do anything that would cause me to break a fingernail! Motors, chains, drills, acuators, and other mechanical parts soon became a part of my life as did my laptop and a change in roles to become the programming mentor. The robot may look lean and mean and have some of the best innovations added to it but without a solid program in both autonomous and driver controlled modes nothing is going to happen.

I don’t game often so this will be a new experience for me but one that will be second nature for Bell and other students on FIRST teams who use the Kinect NUI in games they play on their Xboxes. Bringing familiar technology that lets the student get even closer to the game being played on the field as well as learning how to incorporate this technology into their robots is a natural for FIRST. Inspiring them to gain 21st century work skills and be the future STEM game changers is even more valuable. In 2011 Dean made FIRST loud thanks to and the Black Eyed Peas. In 2012 he’ll make FIRST interactive as well as innovative.

Read more about the FIRST and Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 partnership and the cool innovations coming to the 2012 FRC season by following this link