Since we have seen Kinect automated navigational robots and the further development of the Kinect camera, it was just a matter of time before someone from the Kinect community fuse these two technologies together and create a unique (and fun) application. Today, we feature the work of Hirotaka Niisato, Masahito Endo and Noritsuna Imamura of Japan and their Kinect Pet, the Auto Chasing Turtle. This intricate machine actually has a simple goal, to detect human figures in its environment and chase them. So far we’ve seen the mechanized pets like Aibo but due to the expensive price of these machines, only a limited number of people enjoy the company of these pets. But with this Kinect-mounted robot turtle, an affordable (and cute) robot pet can be made available for the general public. In this video, the Auto Chasing Turtle is seen scanning the environment for human presence. Once it detects the human, it makes its way towards the user, acting like a pet in need. Also, since the Kinect has been successfully integrated with the iPad, the robot turtle can transmit the video or images it is capturing towards a tablet computer, showing what the Kinect Pet is seeing in real-time. Now, with this kind of feature, not only can this Auto Chasing Turtle be a pet, but it can also serve as a reconnaissance tool for various use.
The Auto Chasing Turtle is composed of a Kinect Depth Camera, the KONDO animal (the robotic machine), a WiFi Router to transmit data and images and a beagleboard-xM for the central processing. For the software used, it is required for the user to install the ofxDroidKinect in order to make the Auto Chasing Turtle functional.
A special mention from the team, they would like members of the Kinect community to join in solidarity with Japan’s trials and pray for the Japanese people’s welfare.