Simple Kinect Telepresence Robot

Simple Telepresence Robot

The Kinect Sensor is one of the best additions that can be made to an indoor robot. It includes not only a camera, but the ability to detemine range, an accelerometer and a directional microphone.

This example c# application demonstrates how to use a Microsoft Kinect as the camera for a simple telepresence robot.

Hardware Requirements:

  • Microsoft Kinect
  • Max/Rex (or otherwise serial controlled) Mobile Robot
  • Laptop or similar computer (to mount on Mobile Robot)
  • 2nd computer to remotely control the robot via VNC

Software Requirements:

  • Microsoft Visual c# 2010
  • Mobile Robot running a Zagros Robotics example program
  • VNC (or other remote desk top appliction)

More information can be found on the serial to robot control portion of the application here:

c# Basic Robot Control Example (via serial port)

An Excellent tutorial on the Microsoft Kinect programming library can be found here:

http://channel9.msdn.com/Series/KinectQuickstart

First, you must connect the Kinect to the laptop that will ride on the robot and a power source in addtion to the USB port.  The USB port will not provide enough power to drive the Kinect.  You will get an error message until the external power supply is connected.  The Kinect sensor should come with a wall plug/USB cable.  The cable coming directly out of the Kinect will not plug into a standard USB port.  If you purchased a used Kinect and it did not come with this cable, they can be purchased separately.  During development, you may want to plug the Kinect power supply into a wall outlet, but as some point you will probably want your robot to roam free.  The plug can be snipped and the two wires (red and black) connected to the require 12vdc.  It is a good idea to use a regulated power supply if you are concerned that your robot power will exceed 12vdc.  Note, that allowing your laptop to ride on a mobile robot is usuallly a bad idea and you do so at your own risk!  Hacking your Kinect is also a bad idea and could result in damage to the unit or computer.

Next, you must locate and select the serial port the robot controller is connected to.  The baud rate can also be adjusted.  The hooks to make other serial parameter adjustments are commented out in the source code if required. 

If the serial port opens correctly and is connected to a robot, you can then use the buttons to control the robot movements.

Pressing the Forward button will send an "f" to the robot via the serial port.

The commands are as follows:

  • Forward = "f"
  • Back = "b"
  • Left = "l"
  • Right = "r"
  • Stop = "s"

Once you have a copy of the c# application running on your laptop, you can use VNC (or another remote desk top program) to control the robot remotely from a second computer.

 

C# Simple KinectTelepresence Project Source Code

Adruino Example Program

 

 

 

A quick and simple telepresence robot using the Microsoft Kinect 
and VNC.

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