Design of Controls Experiment using myDAQ

Photo of Royce Chang, Kaitlyn Hunt, Betty Liu, Adam Petri Students: Royce Chang, Kaitlyn Hunt, Betty Liu, Adam Petri

Sponsor: National Instruments

Date: Spring 2012

Requirements:
The main requirement was to design a laboratory experiment to calibrate the Kinect in at least one dimension, and preferrabley in 2-D and 3-D, using the National Instruments myDAQ. The project should use the available equipment from the existing laboratory to minimize costs. The team was also required to develop a laboratory exercise write-up to guide students through the operation of the laboratory. The laboratory space available for the experiment was 3 m3, which fits on top of a standard laboratory bench.

Problem:
Design a laboratory exercise to calibrate the Kinect motion sensing input device for the Microsoft Xbox 360. Evaluate the performance and capabilities of the Kinect to determine the viability of integrating the Kinect into the Dynamic Systems and Control Laboratory course at UT Austin.

Solution:
The team calibrated the Kinect so that LabVIEW could identify the coordinates of any visible point in space with relationship to the Kinect. During 1-D Calibration, the disparity number produced by the Kinect was recorded at known depths. These depth measurements were recorded and plotted in Excel to determine a calibration factor. To calibrate the Kinect in 2-D and 3-D, the length of a ruler (12 in.) was compared to its length in terms of pixels in the Kinect's field of view. Using this relationship, a calibration factor relating the pixel size of an object and its angular diameter with respect to the Kinect was found. Despite slight errors in its sensing and lag associated with its readings, the Kinect is still an adequate tool for use in the classroom, both as an instrument in a brand new laboratory and as a new tool to be integrated into existing laboratory activities.

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