GeoWorld August 2011

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 12 of 31

For Robot Mapping and SLAM to move forward, academics, hackers and companies such as Microsoft all need to work together. Hector Martin to post the first open-source Kinect drivers on Adafruit's GitHub Web site on the same day Kinect was released in Europe. What Microsoft Did Next Tanz also explains how Microsoft was initially antago- nistic to "modders." The company implied that it would work to keep Kinect tamper free, encouraging its customers to use Kinect only to link to the Xbox. Now, however, Microsoft has reluctantly and, somewhat belatedly, embraced the hacker community. In February 2011, it announced a software-development kit. This has been used by a team at the University of Konstanz, where graduate students in a blended interaction course developed Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired (NAVI) using Kinect, a vibrotactile waistband and physical markers in conjunction with an Augmented Reality Toolkit. The Lure of Intrinsic Motivation For Robot Mapping and SLAM to move forward, aca- demics, hackers and companies such as Microsoft all need to work together. Fundamental academic research is essential to explore those areas where there's no immediate financial incentive. Universities have access to experienced researchers and bright, young minds; the lure is their professional reputation. Hackers have the benefit of numbers and enthusiasm as well as amazing technical skills. By early March 2011, more than 10 million Kinects had been sold, and modders were vying to outdo each other with applications that were entertaining, altruistic or both. Their lure is personal reputation and satisfaction—the sole reason why Wikipedia killed Microsoft's Encarta. Corporations have access to financial resources unavailable to academics or hackers—hardware develop- ment is technologically more demanding than an online encyclopedia. Tanz notes that Microsoft has teams of researchers developing a Kinect-driven 3-D environment reminiscent of Star Trek's holodeck and is working on software upgrades that will allow facial recognition. Microsoft may rightly be driven, in part, by profit and financial success, but academics and modders are more responsive to what Daniel Pink (2011) referred to as intrinsic motivation. Together, they're an unbeatable competition—especially if the robots themselves are learning from a GIS-enhanced RoboEarth. Author's Note: Cartographica will be sponsoring a special issue on Robot Mapping in 2012. References Peuquet, D. 2002. Representations of Space and Time. The Guilford Press, New York. Pink, D.H. 2011. Drive. Riverhead Trade, Penguin Books, New York. Waibel, M. et al. 2011. "RoboEarth: A World Wide Web for Robots," Robots and Automation Magazine, IEEE, Vol. 18, No. 2, pages 69-82. Waters, N.M. 2009. "Representing Surfaces in the Natural Environment: Implications for Research and Geographical Education," Chapter 3, pages 21-39, in Mount, N.J., Harvey, G.L., Aplin, P. and Priestnall, G., Eds., Representing, Modeling and Visualizing the Natural Environment: Innovations in GIS, CRC Press, Florida. ADVERTISERINDEX ADVERTISER BAE Systems GXP User Conference GEOINT GeoTec Event 2011 GeoWorld Reprints GeoWorld Subscriptions 5 31 9 29 PAGE 32 AUGUST 2O11 / WWW . GEOPLA CE . COM 13

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of GeoWorld - GeoWorld August 2011