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Universal Range Data Acquisition for Educational Laboratories Using Microsoft Kinect

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Instrumentation Technical Session II

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1282.1 - 23.1282.10



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Paper Authors

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Mingshao Zhang Stevens Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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ZHOU ZHANG Stevens Institute of Technology (School of Engineering and Science) Orcid 16x16

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Sven K. Esche Stevens Institute of Technology

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120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Atlanta, Georgia, USA, June 23-26, 2013 Universal Range Data Acquisition for Educational Laboratories Using Microsoft KinectAbstractMany experiments conducted in engineering and science laboratories involve the acquisition ofrange data such as linear or angular position, velocity and acceleration, distance, displacement, etc.This type of data acquisition (DAQ) is accomplished by sensors, DAQ measurement hardware anda computer with programmable software. This approach to DAQ can cause a series of problemshampering its implementation in educational laboratories. For instance, many sophisticatedsensors (e.g. laser scanners) and the DAQ hardware are expensive, often the sensors and DAQhardware and peripheral devices require modifications for being reused in other applications andmost of experimental setups need to be calibrated before each measurement. These facts tend toincrease the up-front cost of the experimental devices and add to the required operating time.Therefore, low-cost range sensors such as the Microsoft Kinect could become a cost-effective andversatile DAQ alternative. Furthermore, Kinect has acceptable performance regarding sensitivity,accuracy, stability and reliability, as well as low error rates, cost and power consumption.In this paper, the concept of using Kinect as a substitute range DAQ is presented and a prototypeimplementation targeting educational experiments is introduced. This system has several attractivefeatures besides low cost, including the facts that it (in conjunction with appropriate software) canbe trained to recognize and remember multiple objects, is able to track these objectssimultaneously, does neither need to be customized nor modified for measurements in differentapplications, and uses vertexes data (as opposed to single-point tracking) to calculate the positionsand deformations of objects, which results in less drifting error. Taking advantage of thesedesirable characteristics, Kinect is believed to have the potential for becoming an economical andversatile tool for adoption in a wide variety of educational laboratories.

Zhang, M., & ZHANG, Z., & Esche, S. K. (2013, June), Universal Range Data Acquisition for Educational Laboratories Using Microsoft Kinect Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22667

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