Depth sensing and 6-DoF spatial awareness for $400
When Microsoft’s Kinect came out, it’s probably fair to say that it revolutionized robotics. As soon as folks figured out that they could get halfway decent 3D vision for cheap, Kinects started to get kludged on to every robot that moved (or didn’t), even if that robot already had a much fancier and more expensive 3D vision system on it (I’m looking at you, PR2). But Kinect was a gaming sensor—not only was it not optimized for robotics even a little bit, Microsoft seemed to be not all that interested in supporting the robotics industry, and as the Kinect got older, people were forced to lurch painfully over to whatever else happened to be available, like PrimeSense (acquired by Apple) or Asus Xtion sensors. Or, they just stuck with the Kinect, which you still see robots using today.
There’s clearly a need for high quality, high performance, affordable 3D sensors designed for robotics applications, and today, Occipital is announcing pricing and availability for their Structure Core sensor—a high precision, self-contained 3D perception system that goes on sale early next year for US $400.