Snow Day!

I've been a bit quiet on this blog lately -- it's been a busy start to the new semester. Today however, the University closed due to inclement weather. So, I'll post a few updates on what I've been working on:

First, I just barely finished an entry in time for the ROS 3D contest. I had insisted on using the new OpenNI-based drivers, which had some issues under 32-bit systems until about a week before the contest deadline. This was also my first attempt using the ROS Point Cloud Library (PCL). My entry improves the ar_pose package to use depth data from the Kinect to improve the localization of the AR Markers. It also uses surface normal calculation from PCL to improve the orientation. While it's probably not the most technically interesting entry, I definitely did learn a bunch about PCL while working on it. You can read more about the entry here. Or watch the really horrible video (my normal camera stopped working about 12 hours before the deadline):

In creating the entry, I also quickly constructed another robot. This guy used an iRobot Create, Kinect, and a tripod to get the Kinect up to the "Standard Social Robot Minimum Height" that we've been applying to all our robots at Albany:

This tripod worked surprisingly well -- far better than anything I've previously built out of conduit.

Finally, I'm working on putting together a new robot based on an EX-106/RX-64 based arm, Kinect, and a bit larger mobile base..... pictures and video shortly. (his parts are stuck on UPS trucks somewhere in a snow storm).