Ever since we started KinectHacks, we’ve seen so many amazing uses for the Kinect. While a lot of these are geared towards gaming and entertainment, there have been some very inventive hackers who saw the possibilities that the device has presented in other areas. These KinectHackers have seen other uses for the Kinect that could help a lot of people do things better and make lives easier.
Today’s feature falls in the latter category. Grad students Stephan Huber and Michael Zollner from the University of Konstanz in Germany have put together a tool for the vision impaired that uses a Kinect, a laptop, a backpack-belt attachment and an Arduino. The Kinect is mounted to a helmet macgyvered into a laptop sitting on a specialized backpack. The resulting device is meant to augment a blind person’s ability to navigate indoors by providing them tactile feedback, based on obstacles that the Kinect is able to detect. The vibrations come from motors attached to a waist belt which are connected to an Arduino board.
You can read more about the project at the University of Konstanz’s Human-Computer Interaction page.
This is another great example of Microsoft’s family friendly controller getting some really useful real world applications. We’re all looking forward to seeing how this project progresses and what they’ll come up with next.