Scanning plan aims to help robots in the home

Swedish researchers are asking people to use their Xbox’s Kinect sensor as a scanner to grab detailed 3D images of the stuff in their homes. The project requires mass participation to accumulate many examples of common household objects.
The scans will build into a library of objects robots can consult as they navigate around homes.
Slow scan
Co-ordinator Alper Aydemir said: "Factory floors can be custom built and the tools the robots will use can be known precisely in minute detail. This is not the case with everyday living spaces and objects."
While humans have no trouble recognising objects such as a tea mug even if it is a different colour, shape and size to those they have seen before, robots struggle to complete such a mundane task.
"One of the best ways for robots to accomplish all these tasks is to make them learn how to recognise a sofa, a chair, or a refrigerator by feeding them lots of data," Mr Aydemir told the BBC.
Rather than building up the database of objects by themselves, the team from the Center for Autonomous Systems at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology have turned for help to the many people who have bought a Kinect game sensor for their Xbox console.
The Kinect sensor uses a combination of an infra-red sensor, camera and customised computer chip to spot and interpret the movements of gamers, letting them play without a traditional hand-held controller.