March 01, 2011, 8:06 PM — A Kinect-powered robot could soon be helping locate earthquake victims, thanks to the engineering ingenuity of a group of U.K. students. The rescue-robot, developed at the University of Warwick by the geeky Warwick Mobile Robotics (WMR) team, could help significantly reduce the costs involved in earthquake rescue attempts.
Current technology is pricey and sees robots making use of lasers in order to scan rooms. WMR's solution could be a cost-effective (and safer) way of searching unstable buildings and, thanks to the Kinect, looking around for any potential survivors.
Searching for survivors isn't this robots' only trick: It could also create an accurate digital model of the room it's in, making for a far more detailed output, and hopefully resulting in more successful rescues.
You can check out the rescue robot in action in this BBC News report.
The work taking place at the University of Warwick is a great example of just what possibilities hacking the Kinect unlocks, and it's one we hope to see developed further. It's just as well that Microsoft is cool with all this hacking taking place, right? The Kinect saving lives? Now that's technology put to good use.
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