Kinect takes center stage in new map making gadget

We've seen amateur and professional developers alike do some really cool things with Microsoft's Kinect since the motion control peripheral launched in 2010. Interestingly enough, many of these cool things have nothing to do with video games, but that's another story for another time. The latest in a long line of cool gadgets that put Kinect in the spotlight is a new wearable device that has the ability to make maps in real time.

Specifically, this gadget is geared toward mapping the inside of buildings. Developed by MIT, the device combines a laser range finder with the depth-perceiving abilities of Kinect to generate maps of an area in real time. The unit also houses a CPU to process and construct the map (in the prototype, the user has a laptop in his backpack constructing the map as he walks around), and the map can be sent back to a remote station so those outside of the building can get an idea of its layout.

Also included in this package is an inertial sensor to compensate for the fact that it's hard to keep the laser perfectly level while walking, and a barometer to measure changes in air pressure, allowing the gadget's user to map out multiple floors. This technology was developed for use in emergency situations, with applying it to search and rescue operations specifically mentioned. The prototype seems to be a bit bulky at this early stage, but the developers imagine a finished product that is handheld. Check it out in action in the video posted below.

The US Air Force and the Office of Naval Research helped MIT with the project, which suggests that this device could have some military applications in the future. For now, its simply in its prototype stage, but that doesn't change the fact that its still a really interesting device. What do you think of this latest MIT creation?

[via MITnews]