MIT creates drones packing Xbox Kinect

The evil geniuses at MIT have come up with a weapon which could put the fear of Jeff into any would-be terrorist or insurgent.

Already the Taliban quake in their sandals whenever they hear a drone overhead, but if they are killed by any missile from it at least they will feel they died with some honour.

Now MIT is going to make sure that anyone attacked by a drone will look and feel stupid before they go.

They have been strapping Microsoft’s Kinect under the bonnet of a drone. Everyone knows you look like an idiot when a Kinect is switched on. Kinects are also triggered by people waving at them – so a rapid movement is likely to attract the attention of the drone.

So far the MIT drone makes a real-time visual odometry system that can use a Kinect to provide fast and accurate estimates of a vehicle’s 3D trajectory. It aligns successive camera frames by matching features across images, and uses the Kinect-derived depth estimates to determine the camera’s motion.

It means that the drone can fly in GPS-denied environments, such as the centre of Rome. It does not require a motion capture system or other external sensors – and all sensing and computation required for local position control is done onboard the vehicle.

But any Taliban who gets to heaven as a result of one will have to explain to the amusement of all the Angels that he suffered death by Kinect. Fighting to kill all barbers, smash all radios and enslave women suddenly does not seem so attractive.