NI engineer and community member RoboticsME built a robot with the LabVIEW RoboticsStarter Kit that can better maneuver around obstacles with the help of Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect.
The LabVIEW Robotics Starter Kit is an out-of-the-box mobile robot platform complete with sensors, motors, and NI Single-Board RIO hardware for embedded control. RoboticsME attached a Kinect to the robot's upper body with a time-of-flight camera to get a 3D image of its surroundings. The Kinect can see objects in the robot’s surrounding, such as chair legs, but it cannot see objects in close proximity. That’s where the robot’s built-in sonar sensors come in. They can sense objects that are in close proximity to the robot, like in the robot’s blind spot.
RoboticsME used FitPC running Windows Embedded 7 and LabVIEW Robotics to collect and process Kinect data while the LabVIEW FPGA Module collects and processes the sonar data. The LabVIEW Real-Time Module fuses the data from the Kinect and the sonar sensor and performs obstacle avoidance.