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Low-cost, High-capability, Embedded Systems for Education and Research: A Toolbox for the Microsoft Kinect

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Integration of Research and Education in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.906.1 - 25.906.11



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Paper Authors

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joshua fabian Villanova University


Tyler A. Young Villanova University

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Tyler Young implemented the initial interface between Simulink (in a Unix environment) and the Microsoft Kinect device.

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James Peyton Jones Villanova University Orcid 16x16

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James Peyton Jones is a professor of electrical and computer engineering, and a member of the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics and Control at Villanova University.

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Garrett Miles Clayton Villanova University

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Garrett M. Clayton received his B.S.M.E. from Seattle University and his M.S.M.E. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle. He is an Assistant Professor in mechanical engineering at Villanova University. His research interests focus on mechatronics, specifically modeling and control of scanning probe microscopes and unmanned vehicles.

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Low‐cost,High‐Capability,EmbeddedSystemsforEducationand Research:ToolboxesforthePandaBoardandMicrosoftKinect Authors: left blank Affiliation: left blankIncreasingly powerful, yet low cost computing and sensing devices are now available for use instudent designs and embedded mechatronic systems. The PandaBoard, for example, is a lowcost board running full Ubuntu Linux on a dual core ARM Cortex processor. It supports HDvideo, and has onboard BlueTooth, WiFi, USB and serial communications. The MicrosoftKinect, though initially developed as a gaming device, provides rich sensing possibilities, withcamera and depth images, again at remarkably low cost. However, the sophistication of thesedevices often requires a high degree of programming ability in order to exploit their evidentcapabilities. This paper describes progress on a National Science Foundation and MathWorkssponsored project aimed at making these devices more accessible to student users through theuse of Automatic Code Generation techniques. Specifically, the paper describes several newtoolboxes that have been developed which allow students to perform their designs from withinthe Matlab / Simulink environment, and then to implement these designs directly on aPandaBoard and/or Kinect system. Students develop their designs using interconnectedSimulink blocks and subsystems, and the build process automatically cross-compiles anddownloads the model to the target for execution. External mode capability can be used tomonitor the target hardware as it executes in real time, enabling the user to tune modelparameters and log data while their application is running. An example showing how thePandaBoard and Kinect can be integrated as a single system is shown as an example.

fabian, J., & Young, T. A., & Peyton Jones, J., & Clayton, G. M. (2012, June), Low-cost, High-capability, Embedded Systems for Education and Research: A Toolbox for the Microsoft Kinect Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21663

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