MIT researchers equip real-time mapping system with Kinect sensor

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Navigating through unknown territory is a challenge in and of itself, especially in the case of search and rescue missions — and guiding others while doing so increases the difficulty even further. To assist in these situations, researchers at MIT have built a prototype wearable mapping system that can wirelessly transfer data in real-time, as reported by MIT News. Using a "stripped-down" Kinect sensor and a laser rangefinder, the unit scans the area around the wearer in a 270-degree arc to create a map that can be viewed remotely, as seen in the video below.

While travelling, wearers can indicate points of interest on the map, compensating for potential scanning inaccuracies caused by natural human movement. The unit is also capable of tracking multi-level movement using an inertial sensor and a barometer, and the team plans to implement voice communication in the future as well. The project is supported by both the US Air Force and the Office of Naval Research, and the researchers hope that it can eventually be used by first responders when coordinating disaster response.

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